Your Questions

Q

Hello, and thank you for many enjoyable hours of reading. In the Arthur series, mention is made of a lover's cross that was inscribed on a ring that Valerin had, indicating that he and Guinevere may have been lovers. From reading your description, the marking was on the inside of the ring, not meant to be shown to the world. It seems such a romantic idea! I love Celtic jewelry and I like the idea of such an inscription or marking, but I can't find any source that tells me what a lover's cross marking might have looked like. What was your source for writing about this tradition? Many thanks! Saritha Anjilvel

A

My imagination. Sorry. Totally my imagination!


Q

I am currently writing a historical fiction set in the same time as your Saxon stories in the East End of London. I was fascinated by a reference in the A-S Chronicle that Alfred protected the farmers while they gathered their crops around what is now East London. It is the first mention of the area in the whole of history! For fear of sounding like a lightweight, do you make any mention of the Viking encampment on the River Lea near London around 895? What about the weir and embankment King Alfred supposedly built there? Thank you so much for this facility, as if you are not busy enough anyway! Rick, East London

A

Well, they WILL be mentioned when I get to 895! And it wasn't 'supposedly' - Alfred did block the river to stop the Viking ships escaping! Good luck with the book!


Q

Dear Bernard Having sat through the awful PC BBC adaptation of Robin Hood and after reading the Stephen Lawhead Pro Christian version (in my opinion) of Robin Hood, please may I add my name to the many requesting that you apply your talents to writing a novel on Robin. If possible in place of a new Starbuck novel, being a Brit I find it very hard to get my head around novels based upon the American civil war and from a very selfish perspective have to admit I much prefer your British based novels. Theres so many British based novels you could write (Norman conquest, Tudors, War of the roses, Wat Tylers rebellion that I hope you will be to busy to finish any new Starbuck novels. PS have you ever thought about a modern retelling of the Mabinogion? Best wishes, Phil

A

No, I haven't. Probably won't! I think a Welsh writer should do it!


Q

Dear Sir, I was wondering why at "Rifles" Dick Sharpe is out of money? Shouldn't he have some guineas left from Lavisser? yours, kowai

A

Can't remember, wrote it so long ago. He's extremely irresponsible with money, so that must be the answer. Remins me of the baseball player (who?) who received a vast signing bonus, many millions, and was asked by the press how he planned to spend it. "Well," this good man answered, '90% will go on whiskey and women, the other 10% I'll probably waste.'


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell, I have just finished reading Max Hastings book 'Warriors' which devotes a chapter to rifleman Harry Smith and his devoted wife Juana. I was just wandering if Sharpe was in some way based on /modelled on / influenced/ inspired by Smith's story? - there are lots of parallels in Smith's adventures and character. I was unaware of Smith's story (as I had no interest in the Napoleonic wars before your wonderful stories)and as I was reading about Smith it brought back to me a lot of Sharpe's adventures and made me want to reread them all. Many Thanks, Steve Barry

A

Not really! I'd read a lot of Harry Smith and, inevitably, he and Sharpe are at the same events, but they're very different characters. I think any similarity is probably coincidental. A good man, though!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I have started reading your Saxon stories through hearing words as I am registered blind. I live in Northumberland and I instantly recognized Bamburgh castle. I have two questions, The first is did you do your research in northumberland area, did you enjoy our part of the world? The second question is, when will the next book of the series expected to be published? so I can ask my local library to order it in talking words format. many thanks for your skills, Keith Shepherd

A

I love your part of the world! And yes, I've made several trips there, and will probably make several more, and think Northumberland is one of the great undiscovered secrets of the English countryside!

The fourth book of the Saxon stories, Sword Song, should be available in October of this year.


Q

Hi, I am a student psychiatric nurse and am currently doing some research for a presentation. Part of this includes a section on the way that mentally ill people were viewed and treated in the dark ages, a very small part obviously as there is little information available. I was considering this a couple of days ago and remembered reading about the "Isle of the dead" in Enemy of
God and was wondering what your basis was for this, and if perhaps you could help me with a couple of references to help me on my way.. If you can not then that is fair enough. I am a massive fan of yours and enjoy your books immensley. Simon Austin.

A

Oooooops. Think I made it all up. Not very helpful, sorry! Do I have a vague idea that the late Roy Porter wrote a book on the history of treating mental illnesses? You could try putting Bedlam (or Bethlehem Hospital) into the Amazon.co.uk search engine, any book on Bedlam will surely discuss the history of treatment. And I have another vague idea that, not so long ago, I read a review of a book that talked about the history of such treatment, so using the history category of Amazon search, you could try terms like mental, madness, etc. Sorry I can't be more helpful.


Q

Hi Bernard, I,ve been a big fan of yours for several years, and I have read all your books. Some of them more than once, and what I really like is the incredible detail, of wildlife and trees and flowers, and the amazing battle details, for example in The Last Kingdom, when Uhtred was in the shield wall at Cynuit, he started off with Wasp Sting and after a few deadly bloody blows, Wasp Sting was pulled out of his hand by an unnamed Dane, he then drew Serpents Breath and carried on killing. What happened to Wasp Sting? Because it's next mention is in The Pale Horseman, when Uhtred hands it to Iseult to kill Haswold at Aetheningaeg. Did someone pick it up and return it to him or did he pick it up himself?Excuse me for being picky Bernard, but as I said I really like the detail. I have enjoyed all your books, I am halfway through Vagabond for the second time, that Thomas is some lad isn't he? I am really looking forward to Sword Song and Uhtred's further adventures, keep on writing, you and Wilbur Smith are my top two authors. Many Regards Peter Carragher(UK)

A

I suspect he picked it up. Can't remember. He's still got it, so he must have!


Q

Dear, Mr Cornwell I am a student in his first year of high school and I really enjoy reading your Sharpe books. The way you blend the right mix of history and fiction, as well as how you finish with a historical note. I also like the way you put in info on Sharpe's weapons and tactics. I am in the process of reading Sharpe's Trafalgar and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am wondering if there is a site where you can find a ship of the line cross section on the Internet. I must commend you on providing an enjoyable read for me and many others. Scott Allen

A

Must be! Don't know where! Try putting HMS Victory into search. Otherwise there's the magnificent book by Stephen Biesty called Cross-Sections, Man of War published by Dorling Kindersley - aimed at a young audience, but beautifully done!


Q

I have read every one of your books. I read Redcoat many years ago and recently reread it. It is a very good book. I was wondering if you ever thought about continuing the series and go farther into the American Revolution? Can't wait for the next Saxon book. Also wish you would go on with the Starbuck series. Thanks for all of the hours of reading I have enjoyed. Chuck Grantz

Dear Mr Cornwell, One question if I may - Now I think I read/heard this somewhere, on the other hand though, I may have made this up. I normally do with these things, down side to drinking too much caffeine and working shifts &Are you planning a new novel on the American Revolution War?? If so, any chance of a few bits of inside info - obviously not the big stuff that would ruin the story. Will it be like Redcoat - many main characters - or one main character. Will they be Brit, Rebel or German, French maybe?&nooo. Will it be a one off, or a series etc& Ive always found that campaign interesting, though, granted I dont know much about it - and personally I think the rebels cheated a bit (They had a very unsporting habit of hiding behind tress). Many Thanks for your time P.S. Thanks again for kindly signing my copy of Sharpes Rifles I sent you. Hope you didnt find the enclosed letter to worshiping. Thanks again, Andrew

I can't tell you how much I look forward to your historical novels. My only complaint is that I've read all your available works and have to show patience for the next one. Have you ever thought of doing an American Revolution novel (or 2 or 3)? Thank you for hours and hours of pure pleasure.

Jim Lucey

A

I am, but I'm not going to tell you anything about it! And I really don't know when I'll get round to writing it. And IF it happens it will definitely be a one-off, based very firmly on diaries and letters recounting a very specific (and largely forgotten) event.


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