Your Questions

Q

Just completed Book 12 - Sword of Kings. I've been an avid of this whole series and look fwd to the concluding Book 13. The character of Uhtred has certainly mellowed and now he is much more of a thinker than he was and also now a confirmed believer in "fair play" I pick up too. Age seems not to have blunted his ability with the sword though! I was sad to see the deaths of so many of his family, all almost listed (a bit matter of factly!) in the penultimate page - but he seemed very accepting of that. Just one other thought there - linking back to Gisela. Gisela foretold about all of his 3 children and how their futures would enfold - however, she did say that Stiorra would be the mother of kings - given the demise of his two grandsons by Stiorra & Sigtrygger, it would seem that didn't come to fruition?

Phil Whitehead

A

It’s not the end . . . the final book does revisit it (in part).


Q

Hi Bernard

I hope you are well and keeping safe. As a lifelong Sharpe fan I'm very excited to learn that he's picking his baker rifle up one last time. I was just wondering if you could tell us anything about it this at this time? Will it be in his later years with Lucille or the early days when he was joining the rifles as there is a gap between prey and rifles or preferably if this is to be the last one with Harper and the chosen men? Possibly on detached service if there isn't a convenient battle around? Sorry for so many questions but I've waited many a long year to read a Sharpe book that I don't already know word for word. One final question and the one I'm most hoping for will Hagman be in it? He has always been my favourite rifleman

Matt Nicholls

A

I fear you’ll be disappointed as Hagman can’t be in the next one. I’m planning a book that takes Sharpe from Waterloo to Paris – a journey that takes just over two weeks and will provide him with some opportunities to do what he does best. Beyond that I can’t really say much as I never know what will happen to him until I start to write him – which will be soon!

 


Q

If you quietly stand just behind the shoulder of any commander in history during a particular battle and see and hear everything that goes on around him who would it be and why?  My guess for you is Wellington at Waterloo.  Mine for sure is Caesar at Alesia.

Ron Filipkowski

 

A

I think your guess is right!


Q

Hi,

Having read and enjoyed many of your books I decided to start reading the Sharpe series in chronological order.  I am currently reading Sharpe's Trafalgar and am surprised to see you have made Sharpe into a murderer.  Why was this necessary?

I'm afraid it is making me think twice about reading the rest of the series.

Kind regards,

James.

A

Oh it isn’t necessary, but Sharpe wouldn’t be surprised by it. He’s not necessarily a nice man. He’s a good man, but a rogue. I can’t remember the episode and I’m just surprised I got that far into the series without letting him murder someone earlier!


Q

I bought your book Sword of Kings in hard bound volume. First time I had bought a hard bound volume book in a long time but I had read most of what you have written and thought it worth buying.

At page 76 the hero and his men are indicated as being in a pasture, hiding- "We had left the road to hide behind blackthorn hedge of the rain-soaked pasture."

At page 81 they were still there "The came from the east, circling below the pasture where we were couched beside the blackthorn hedge." and "The horses turned toward us, their big hooves churning the wet turn to muddy ruin."

However, at page 78 appears "We had been sitting on a bench beside the tavern's hearth. All around us men snored. The wind still rattled the shutters and fretted at the reed thatch and rain still fell through the roof-hole to hiss in the fire..."

I this a matter of concern? Should it be corrected before a new edition or an edition in paperback?

 

Otherwise, good book.

 

Henry W. Bockman

A

You had me worried for a moment, but if you look again you’ll see that the conversation with Finan had taken place the previous night, and at the top of 79 it ends ‘so I had slept, and now . . .’ now being by the hedge. But thank you, anyway!!

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell.

I do not make a habit of writing to well-known people, but in your case I had to make an exception.  Principally to say thank you for all the wonderful books you have produced and all the pleasure reading them (several times over) has given me.  I feel a certain connection to your books as an avid family historian.  I (like you) am a descendant of the real Uhtred of Bamborough and of Alfred the Great and his son Edward.  I also descend in the male line from an ancestor who was probably a Norse settler in the Lancashire area in the ninth century as so well portrayed in your Last Kingdom novels.  His descendant a thane called Outi was lord of several manors in the twelfth century, a younger son, Richard, was given one of them called Orrell and was the ancestor of that family.  I can relate to your Agincourt novel as three of my family fought there as Men-at-Arms, (Robert, William and Hugh Orrell) and I can relate to the wonderful Sharpe novels as my five greats uncle, Andrew Orrell was a Lieutenant in the Penninsular War (34th Regiment), he was a friend and neighbour of Lieutenant Robert Knowles who was killed at Roncesvalles and whom I assume was the original of the Lt Robert Knowles who appears in the Sharpe books?    A distant relative John Orrell was a Lieutenant in the Rifles.  Who knows, perhaps an Orrell will appear in your novels one day?

Thanks again for all your work.

Terry Orrell

A

Who knows? Maybe!  And yes, my Knowles was based on Robert Knowles who was a Lieutenant in the 34th and I have a collection of his letters – the last letter in the collection being written by your 5Xgreat-uncle, Andrew Orrell, written on October 4th, 1812. He seemed to be having a good time, describing a ball to which ‘there was a very good turn out of females’, and saying that wine is so plentiful there was trouble keeping the men sober.  The book is called The War in the Peninsula, Some Letters of Lieutenant Robert Knowles, published 1913 by Tillotson & Son, Bolton, and you might find a copy on Abebooks.com.


Q

A long time ago (you certainly won't remember with all the people who contact you) I told you i refused to read (although I owned the books) Sharpe, before he meets Harper.

Your response was

"That's okay, you don't know what you're missing, but that's okay."

I've since taken those 5 books off the shelf and read them and they're fantastic "says so in the scriptures." :-)

It brings up some questions (so forgive me, anyone that may not have read yet) regarding those books plus a book i'm currently re-reading for what must be the 7th-8th time.

Would Grace or Astrid have featured in more than just one novel each had the books been written in sequence?  I appreciate that may be an odd question, but the thought does occur to me that perhaps they could only feature in one novel for continuity in later books? As he falls for a Louisa in Sharpe's Rifles which I assume (without checking was written before Sharpe's Trafalgar or Sharpe's Prey.

Also I am the Sharpe i'm currently on is Sharpe's Fury.  I think reading the earlier based novels has made a "Light Bulb" go off, because I think i've noticed something I never really noticed the significance of before.  I'd just like to know if it was deliberate?

Henry Wellesley, tells the story (for Brigadier Moon's benefit) of his brother being saved by Sharpe.  He tells it as

"Arthur told me, he knew he was going to die..........then from nowhere a British Sergeant appears......He says the sergeant put down 5 men."

Sorry without the book in front of me i cannot quote it fully and perhaps not even correctly.  But as I know how this books goes,I have to ask......... Did you deliberately make Sharpe's rescue of Brigadier Moon and the new Lady Moon similar to how Henry Wellesley describes Sharpe's rescue of Wellington?  It certainly appears that way now i've noticed that specific description more clearly than i previously did in the past.

One last thing.  Please give me/us one more Sharpe? He's provided me with so much pleasure over the years, I can only think of one way of showing my appreciation.  And that is to buy 4 more copies of the same novel in various formats to keep me company.

Thank you sir for your time.

Lee

A

They couldn’t! And that was a huge pity, but because the books were written out of sequence it meant that no-one in the second series could play a significant role in Sharpe’s life unless they were already in the first. I particularly regretted Lady Grace’s demise, but had no choice!

 

I didn’t . . . and Sharpe’s rescue of Sir Arthur Wellesley is in Sharpe’s Triumph which is based on a real event in the Battle of Assaye when the (future) Duke of Wellington was very nearly killed. The Duke never talked about the incident, which left me free to invent a rescue by Sharpe.

 

A new Sharpe is next!


Q

Hi Bernard,

 

Massive fan of your books. I was wondering if you'd seen a video Tod's (if you don't know Tod, he specialises in recreating medieval weaponry as authentically as possible) workshop on youtube did last year with Dr Tobias Capwell. They got Joe Gibbs (who can use a 160lb longbow) to fire both iron tipped and case hardened bodkin arrows at an almost perfect recreation of a 14th Century Churburg breastplate. I've linked the video below as I think you would find it very interesting.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxdTkddHaE

 

The results in the video were absolutely fascinating, with all the arrows being stopped and rendered completely unusable by the breastplate.

 

It was also fascinating to see Joe firing a 160lb longbow, it looks as though he could crush diamonds between his shoulder muscles! It really brought home your descriptions of Thomas of Hookton's massive archer strength.

 

Regards,

Tom

A

I have seen and much admired Tod’s videos on YouTube and saw the one where case-hardened bodkins failed to pierce the breastplate! A chronicler of Poitiers noted how the English arrows tended to crumple when they struck armour, so it was hardly a surprise, yet think what a bodkin could do to lesser armour, to helmet visors, and the sheer strike of an arrow, even if it fails to penetrate, would knock a man back at least half a pace. The French men-at-arms who struggled through the arrow storm at Agincourt were half blinded by their visors, were wading through deep mud, and being struck again and again by arrows, yet most still reached the English line. Which is not to underestimate the archers, the battle would have been lost without them, but of course armour developed to counter the sheer power of the longbow. But how many men could afford that really well made armour?

 


Q

I have read many of your books but I am particularly interested in the Nathaniel Starbuck series.  Will you be writing another book in this series like Nathaniel at Gettysburg?

Carol Ross

 

Bernard some years ago at the Cheltenham festival I asked if Nathaniel would walk again. Has he been lost in the Civil War or has he been serving coffee? Thanks for all the pleasure your books give. Enjoy the sailing

regards

David

 

Dear Mr. Cornwell:

I've been reading & re-reading your books for the last 15+ years or so.  Your books are like favorite adult beverages where one can savor & consume them each time & never grow tired of them!

I can understand your weariness of the "next Starbuck?" question; however, Nate stands proudly next to your other "sons" Sharpe & Uhtred and he deserves just as much in the writing of his tales.  Maybe 1 (or possibly 2??) book(s) ought to do it?

Kindly consider this as a huge favor to your legions of patient Starbuck fans.

Sincerely yours,

Lorena Hoo Al-Ali

A

Sharpe is the next book.....not sure after that?


Q

First of all I like most people here are great fans and you sir are a wonderful writer. I love the Sharpes books and The Saxon Tales. I'm on my 3rd reading of Saxon Tales and my question is... Is Warlord going to be the finale of The Saxon Tales? I need at least 6 more novels to equal Sharpes. Thank you sir for a wonderful adventure and a great ride!!!

Jamie Crocker

A

War Lord will be the final book of The Last Kingdom series.