Your Questions

Q

Mr. Cornwell, thanks for all the superb characters, hours of reading pleasure and seamless blending of factual and fictional. 'Rebel' led me to your Sharpe series in '93 and I've been a fan since. I'm curious to know if you are familiar with 'Angels in Iron', Nicholas Prata's novel about the pivotal 1565 Siege of Malta. His memorable characters, accurate detail and desperate battle scenes remind one of your work. (As does R.F. Delderfield's Napoleonic fiction.)

Also, have you any interest in treating the Christian/Muslim conflicts of that period (Venetian-Turkish Wars, Rhodes, Malta, Lepanto, Crete, Vienna, etc.?)

Just wondering: in 'Vagabond', you describe Scots pikes as wickedly hooked and barbed--weren't Scottish pikes just long spears used in schiltrons? The weapon you portray sounds more like a halberd or voulge. And yours was the only reference I've seen to Scottish war drums.

In his sprawling novel 'Teutonic Knights', Henryk Sienkiewicz contended that there were East European archers superior to the English longbowmen, any thoughts? (I've seen mentions of English archers serving as mercenaries in Italy, Baltic Crusades, etc. Perhaps they met Poles or Wends in battle?)

Are there firm plans on when Starbuck and his merry band of Virginia, Arkansas and Florida boys will march again? We "Yanks" look forward to more gripping Civil War tales. I know I've asked a ton of questions...I'm sure I could think of more. Thanks again and keep up the stellar work for many years to come. Marc Salzano Mt. Vernon N.Y.

A

I fear I don't know the book, but am hugely grateful for your recommendation and I'll order it from Amazon today!

Nope. Sorry. Too many other things I want to do before any of those - though I recently read a book on Lepanto and found it fascinating.

Can't remember my source now . . . so this answer will be entirely inadequate - but I'm fairly sure I was working off a reasonable authority - and I suspect the pikes were rare, and that spears were more common. Also suspect I made the drums up.

Know nothing about East European archers - unless these are the men who used composite bows? In which case I suspect the composite bow was a much better weapon than the longbow . . . but that's another story.

Starbuck will be back, but right now I can't say when.


Q

Firstly let me just say it was great to meet you in southampton and shake your hand. Thanks for signing my 1st editions Eagle and Trafalgar by the way (I'm the lad with the curtain tasselled Heavy Cavalry Sword). My question is can you suggest the best source of information about San Sabastian? I've a mind to try my hand! Ben

A

You mean the siege? Any of the very good books on Wellington in the peninsula. I think Jac Weller is fairly unbeatable. Or see if your library can get hold of Sir Charles Oman's 7 volume A History of the Peninsular War - almost a hundred years old, but a terrific read. - you only need Volume VII which opens with the siege.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I am working my way through the Sharpe series, and just finished reading Sharpe's Escape. Did a Mister Slingsby really exist? He annoyed me almost as much as he did Sharpe, I fear - and I'm not sorry to see him lose control of the South Essex Skirmishers. Yours, A.W.

A

No, poor Slingsby is all fictional!


Q

Hello there Bernard! I do hope your well? I have few questions if may? Just before reading Sharp's Trafalgar I was a bit worried i wasn't going to enjoy it? Because it was at sea & the first 3 books were superb! But once again you had me reading that book every spare moment I had! But I did get a little bit lost with names of parts of the ship? The stern, port & starberd & parts of the rigging etc. Would it be an idea to have a diagram of a ship in the book to resolve this matter? Sorry to be a nit picker!

I enjoyed the book so much , I went to the maritime museum to see The Trafalgar exhibit which was great & there was Nelson's uniform he was shot in & I was surprised how small it was? And other officers & sailors jackets were tiny? My next qustion is were people in them days genrally a smaller size?

To my next question, I am about to buy a replica Bakers rifle & I was wondering How much a real one goes for? I would appreciate your input?

I have just bought the film Waterloo on dvd, With Rod Steiger & Chris Plummer & I thought it was great! the film shows the scale of the battle & brings battles like that into prospective! & if you look closly you can even see the skirmishers. But on to my last question (thanks for being patient) In the film Wellington promotes a private to corporal for stealing a pig! Did it happen? Well that's all for now & thanks for writing such brilliant stories. Gary Beadle

A

There was just such a diagram in the hardback, and I can only assume the publishers left it out of the paperback for their usual reasons of cost. Sorry about that!

They were smaller than folk are today (though Mister Bunce, HMS Victory's carpenter, was well over six feet). I read once that the average height of the British infantry was 5' 4", though the Scots were generally a bit taller. Suspect the officers (better fed as children) were closer to what we would consider normal height. Nelson wasn't that short (somewhere around 5' 6"????) but he was frail, and gave an impression of fragility. A killer, all the same!

A real one? Rather expensive I would imagine!

No. He gave an order that every man caught stealing from the peasantry in Portugal, Spain and France was to be hanged on the spot (wanted their support, not their opposition). The story goes that one day a private of the 88th (Connaught Rangers) appeared through a hedge in front of his lordship - the Irishman was carrying a piglet - Wellington snapped something at him (and was obviously ready to order his arrest) when the man told Wellington that if he hurried he'd find one or two piglets left for himself. Wellington burst into laughter, which made it impossible to hang the man, so he forgave him instead. That was it. Very often, if a man was condemned to hang, the sentence was commuted if his unit did well in battle.


Q

I truly enjoyed the Lords of the North and as always I read the historical notes and I would like to know how much of your family line and the main character have in common? Michael Zitt

A

We know absolutely nothing about those distant Uhtreds! Except their dates. My own suspicion is that they held onto Bebbanburg by collaboration rather than heroism, but I don't know! They lost it before the Norman Conquest when one of them fell out with King Cnut and was murdered.


Q

I love your books and have read almost all of them. I have just finished The Lords of the North and I am guessing there is to be at least one more in the series, when do you plan to publish it? I wait in anticipation. James Daborn, Glastonbury UK

A

I am working on the fourth book of the series now (and there will be more) and hope to have it ready for publication by October 2007.


Q

Hi Bernard, its Eddie from York.I loved Sharpe's Havoc and am currently devouring Lords of the North.I keep asking if you ever intend to expand the Starbuck Chronicles? and have you ever considered doing a book using the English civil war as a backdrop? It seems to be a part of our history that gets foregotten and I cannot think of a better person to write it. I would not use any legal system against you if you did,as I appreciate your work to much. It is just a query of interest.Hope to see you in York again sometime and i eagerly await your new books. Don't worry, I bought the last Sharpe novel on the day of release, just have not read it yet. Eddie Porteous

A

English Civil War? I've considered it, have done some research, think about it, but lord knows where I'll find the time to do it. One day, maybe?


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, On May 13th, waiting at Heathrow a/p for my flight, I picked up "The Last Kingdom". I have always enjoyed historical fictions but, until now, haven't felt like I was so totally part of the story. I was able to live the stories along with the characters. Being there, experiencig the many emotions, pains, and joys, set into the life of the main characters. You have an extraordinary gift to draw the reader into the story. I am looking forward to reading the Lords of the North. I have just finished the Starbuck Chronicles and have fallen in love with the character of Nate Starbuck. Your last line in, The Bloody Ground, was "Nate Starbuck will march again." Do you have any plans to continue The Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles? And, if so, will it be soon? I feel, since you left us in such suspense, the need to know if Nate avenges Rothwells' murder, whether Billie Blythe is caught in his web of lies. How will Nate react to Adam Falconer's death. I love the characters of Mr Truslow, his daughter, Sally, Colonel Swynard, Potter. When will Nathanial Starbuck finally find what he's looking for in life? Thank you for taking me away from everyday, mundane, life and letting me travel to places and times we only read about in history. You've brought that history to life through the lives of your characters. Thank you, Donna D'Muhala

A

I do have plans to finish Starbuck - once the Sharpe series is complete.


Q

Dear Bernard, Greetings once more from sunny Dorset.Just a quick question for you.Are you still writing the Agincourt book,and,if so,when can we expect to get our mitts on it? Kind Regards Dave A Wimborne Minster

A

Haven't started it yet so can't say when it would be available.


Q

I expect you get thousands of these emails a day. What is conspicuous in your responses that are posted online is that you dont seem to bathe in all the glory. Are you motivated by the adulation? How do you interpret it - is it just reward for the hard work you put in? What drives you to keep researching and writing - has your motivation changed from when you first started to now, when you must just be trying to keep so many people happy (as they seem to be asking for more books the whole time)? Nikolai K

A

Motivated by adulation? I'm old, tired and past that, thank god. I enjoy what I do, what greater reward could there be? And I write, primarily, to amuse myself. If I wanted adulation I'd get a dog.


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