Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell! I have just read the German version of "Scoundrel" and liked it. Very different from your historical novels. I wonder where you got all your information about the world of terrorism. Sounds like a dangerous field! Or did you make it all up? Either way, you did a fine job. But, what I do wonder, was it really you who wrote this book? Because, my edition (ECON Taschenbuch Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-612-27238-1) calls the writer "Bernh(!!!)hard Cornwell". Curious! :-) How did that happen? As an Englishman I would not think that you were called the German name Bernhard and lost your H somewhere. Or, did you??? Naaaah! Bye, Grisel

A

I wrote it, honest. I have no idea where the 'h' came from - not from me. I assume the German publishers added it out of habit. The information about terrorism? I was a journalist in Belfast during the troubles and picked it all up there.


Q

Firstly, thank you for your wonderful books, my wife Pat and I have read all and treasure them. You will see from my name that my family arrived from France (about 1860) but the name is derived from Regenbald the priest who was chancellor to Edward the confessor. Have you ever come across this name in your research? Thank you again. Brian Regimbeau.

A

A new name to me! But I'm delighted your family went home, even if they took their time!


Q

Hello There, It's horrible, I'm trying to put it out of my mind but there it remains like some blue-mould on a sandwich you're halfway through...page 161 Sharpe's Devil: "Sharpe, seeing his very first sea fight,". Would you forgive me for defacing my copy just so that Sharpe's Trafalgar doesn't seem like a dream or an ad-lib! Also, I was wondering if the spelling of my name (pronounced Alan..despite years of childish "Olwyn" taunting) stood out when you signed my copy of Heretic (thank you muchly for that)? I am born and raised in Northern Ireland but it seems the name is Welsh. Any chance of naming a character for me, go on, I'll be your best friend and promise not to claim any likeness rights! Thank you for taking the time to read this, I have spent years enjoying your work (have read everything except the thrillers and Redcoat and my collection holds 22 first editions of your works) Your grateful fan Allyn Mills

A

The problem about Devil and Trafalgar, of course, is that I wrote the books out of order. It's a lousy way to write a series - but think of it this way, if I took Devil as gospel then there wouldn't have been Sharpe's Trafalgar, so I think the discrepancy is worth it! I'll think about a character called Allyn!


Q

Mr Cornwell Let's suppose Richard Sharpe's triumphant return to England after Waterloo is rewarded with the full rank of Colonel and command of the South Essex. What happens next...... does the scoundrel Sir Henry Simmerson get his just deserts and does the Lady Jane finally get her wonderful and final come-uppance? Does Sharpe, prior to retiring to an idyllic lifestyle in Normandy, put down an Irish rebellion (with the help of Harper) that was masterminded by Simmerson thus saving the Prince Regents life?&&. No? Ok&.can I please know what happened to Simmerson and the Lady Jane after Sharpes Waterloo (loose ends you know&.) Cheers Paul Dixon

A

One day I might - might - get round to all that, but I honestly haven't thought much about it (and won't till I get to write any such book). I'm sure Siimmerson gets his just deserts, but probably in hell.


Q

Hi Bernard, a couple of years ago I saw the Sharpe series on Dutch tv. I always enjoyed watching them, but wasn't familiar with your other works until a friend of mine recommended me The Last Kingdom. The both of us are huge George Martin fan, especially his A Song of Ice and Fire Series. So this friend found your book in the "what I'm reading"section on George's site. He described it there as books in which the battle scenes are vividly and detailled described, and that just happens to be the thing we like. So, two weeks ago I ordered The Last Kingdom and The Winter King, in these 2 weeks you have become my favorite writer (besides George of course). Reading one of your books feels like being emerged in history. A part of history that has already attracted me since my early childhood. So what I actually wanted to say is: keep up the good work and I"m looking forward to The Pale Horseman. P.s. I was thinking about writing a paper about the transition from paganism to early Christianity in Northern Europe. Maybe you have some suggestions on further reading on this subject? Cheers, Dennis

A

Only one book - but I suspect it will have a lot of answers (as well as a useful bibliography): The Conversion of Europe, by Richard Fletcher, published in London, HarperCollins, 1997. In the US the book was called The Barbarian Conversion, from Paganism to Christianity, and was published by Henry Holt in 1998. As far as I can remember (I read it eight years ago) the general thesis is that conversion was generally a 'top-down' process; i.e. the ruler became a Christian and everyone else was forced to follow - which explains, of course, the lingering of pagan practices (Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic. is terrific on that).


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell - I loved The Last Kingdom and cannot wait until the Pale Horseman is published. I will definetely be at one of your London book signings, a real shame you are not doing a talk at either of them. I particularly liked the parts of the book set in the north east of England - I often visit Lindisfarne as my family are from up there. I just had a couple of questions. 1) was the Bamburgh Castle of the 9th century a substantial building or was it very small in comparison to todays huge building? 2) a really small point but in the book it said that Uhtred gallops along the sea to Bamburgh Castle after the sacking of Lindisfarne and the sea was crashing on his right hand side. Would it not be on his left left hand side? This may be a typo or did he set off from elsewhere? 3) Will you ever be going to Lindisfarne for more book research? All the best, Nick

A

1) It was much smaller. Almost certainly the remains have been obliterated by the present castle, but the 9th century fortress would have been made of wood, not stone. And the cricket pitch west of the castle was an inlet of the sea.

2) Did I? Can't remember. I thought I had him going the other way, but I'm sure you're right.

3) Probably . . .


Q

I have read several books in your "Sharpe" series and just finished "The Last Kingdom" which I enjoyed very much. After reading your disclaimer on this web-site I'm disappointed that you are not going to provide me an agent and publisher. I suppose I can also forget about a birthday present. Naturally, I am looking for all three. A number of agents have stated that historical fiction is difficult to sell. Has this been your experience? I have been attempting to find marketing data on recently published historical fiction. Un fortunately historical fiction is not a literary class like mystery, science fiction or romance. Any suggestions of where to even look? I'm looking forward to the sequel to The Last Kingdom. Ward Harris

A

I haven't a clue where you'd find marketing data . . . sorry. I confess I've never had any trouble (touch wood).


Q

I'm a massive fan and have read almost all your books. I went to Normandy recently and it struck me that you could write a brilliant book about the Battle of Hastings/the year 1066. Its got everything! Its very well known about (though few specific details so you could get away with a few 'tweaks'), got TWO battles, and has some great historic figures that you could bring to life.(Harald Hardrada comes to mind). Plus you could write from the English, Dane or Norman perspective. (or all of them!) Please consider it as a possible future idea. Max Samson P.S. I promise I won't sue you if you use it, but please reply because if you don't I might.
Max Samsom

A

I've considered it, but it's not high on my list.


Q

I have just started to read the Sharpe series of books and started with Sharpe's Rifles, as it was the first book in the TV series. I would like to continue reading the series but am confused as to what order I should read them in? I can't decide as to whether I should go back in time to read the books in the order they were written, or read them in the chronological order? Apologies if this has already been answered before! Thanks and keep up the good work! Simon

A

I generally recommend reading the Sharpe books in chronological order. For a complete chronological listing of the books, click on the Sharpe books link to your right under 'select a book series'.


Q

hello Mr Cornwell, I have read all of your Sharpe books as well as some others of yours. I was wondering what the role was of the RSM in a Regiment, and who had more influence with the men, the RSM or the officers? Thankyou for taking time to answer my question. Josh

A

He's the most senior enlisted man - and he's very much a link between the battalion commander and the men in the ranks. He has FAR more influence than any junior officer!


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