Your Questions

Q

Could you please explain to me how the publishing industry works? Earlier on in the year you posted that Lords of the North would be released in Canada in September, this has since been changed to January 2007. Meanwhile the book is already out in England. The same thing happened before with Heretic, except it was actually released in Canada in large print format, and the regular version came out several months later on the actual posted release date. I don't mean to sound rude. I'm just completely baffled by the publishing process. Thanks for your time. Matthew Moses

A

As am I! However, The Lords of the North is available in Canada - it was released in July. The book will be released in the US in January 2007. Why is the large print edition sometimes released before the regular version? I have no idea. I do know that Sharpe's Fury will be released at the same time in both the UK and the US - and that is likely to be true of future books as well.


Q

I think it's super that a busy writer like yourself takes so much time to answer fans mail. Your books are fantastic. I own the Arthur books, as well as 18 of the 21 Sharpe Books. And my husband(who is not a reader) and I are anxiously awaiting receipt of the Sharpe DVD series. (even though we've watched them on TV). One question for Harper Collins. Why did they change the cover & size of the pocket books? The new ones stick out like a sore thumb, when you have them lined up on the book shelf. In my opinion the old covers looked nicer. Thanks so much for your wonderful books and for your time in answering questions. Gail

A

The cover decisions are up to the publisher. I assume they made the change because they thought it was a good idea. I'm sorry you are unhappy with it - but glad to know you like the stories inside!


Q

Hi Mr. Cornwell! I have written to you before and recieved a reply which I deeply appreciated. I wanted any advice you could give on the universities in Europe that you thought were the best for studying ancient history. I also wanted to know where you went to school so as to give me a better understanding of what path to take. My main objective in life is to teach ancient history, but I want to go to school that is surrounded with the history I teach. If you had any thoughts on this subject, it would be greatly received. Thanks again, and thank you for the greatest novels I've ever read. The Grail Quest series is my favorite! Sincerely, Steve Scheide

A

Sorry - don't have a clue. I'm far removed from Europe and even farther removed from the academic world. I wish I could help, but any opinion I gave you would be most unreliable. You probably need to ask your teachers, counsellors, etc, because they would have the resources to find the answer. Or search the internet for those courses in, say, Britain. You'd probably find that places like Exeter and Durham offer good courses in ancient history and, of course, if you studied in Britain then you'll be surrounded by historic sites.


Q

I'm a reader from the Philippines, I first tried your Grail Quest Series and I really enjoyed and wished there were more. I recently finished your Arthur Series and almost didn't finished it, knowing it will end in tragedy. I enjoy reading medieval fantasy/warfare so I'm looking forward to read your Saxon series once the mass market books are out here in our country. Will you tackle the War of Roses in your future projects as well as the 100 yrs war? And hopefully your Arthur and Grail books will be made into a movie or mini-series. Hopefully you'll write more medieval stories in your future projects. James Chua

A

I'm not planning anything on the Wars of the Roses


Q

Bernard,Is there any truth to this? Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew". Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird." IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE TO THE FRENCH TODAY! Thanks, Joe

A

It's entirely true that the French threatened to cut off the two draw fingers of captured English archers' hands (nowadays archers use three fingers, but it was two back then). The threat, we know, was sometimes carried out. Did that give rise to the V gesture? I don't know. I'd like to think that it did, and the story is usually told of Agincourt (though the threat was much older). I've never found proof of it.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I just want to say thank you for many years of fantastic reading.I started buying and reading the Sharpe books in the 1980's in boarding school in the UK.It meant when lights went out I would have to sneak off to the bog and read!. Anyway I still have all the book, well worn but much loved. I have a question, I really love the cover pictures on the Fontana paperbacks. Could you tell me who painted them as I would love to get my hands on them. I would love to get my books signed, but I couldn't dare part with them.Maybe the next time I'm in the states I'll bring them with me to get signed. Thank you for years of great plots and battels, I'm only thirty this year but you inspired a great love of the Napoleonic period in me that I'm sure I'll keep to the end. Kind regards Robert Phelan, B.A,Pg Dip L.S

A

I wish I could help you! Fontana was the paperback imprint of Collins (now HarperCollins) and the best I can suggest is that you write to them . . I'll try and find out for you, but the imprint closed some years ago and I doubt if anyone at the publisher will remember. Sorry!


Q

Dear Sir, congratulations on your recent honour from Her Majesty and thank you for the many hours of entertainment you have brought to me and to countless others. Both your Arthur books and the Saxon stories are told by characters who are writing in a form of English far from that spoken today. Many of your books have been translated into languages such as french and spanish: might we one day see Uhtred's tale written in Anglo-Saxon and Derfel's in Ancient Welsh (and perhaps Anglo-Saxon as well, his being translated from one to the other)? Warmest regards, Zachary Mallett

A

They'll certainly be translated into both just as soon as there are enough Saxons and ancient Welsh ready to buy them!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell I am a 2nd year University student at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne,studying Ancient History and archaeology and i am fascinated by your Arthur books and your Saxon ones.I was just wondering what process you go through to research your books.This will help me both from a practical point of view for writing essays and such but also through personal passion as I have a tendancy to spend a large portion of time in bookshops! Thank you, Ali

A

Wow! That's a huge question! To which the honest, but depressing, answer is that I spend years reading about and around the period. So for the Saxon books I've been reading everything I can get my hands on for about forty years, sparked by being introduced to Anglo-Saxon poetry while at University. Of course once the books become imminent then the reading becomes more specific, and I search out archaeological reports and I visit the places and I ransack local histories and I collect maps. In the end, thou, it's mostly reading 'proper' historians. Sometimes (as in the Arthurian books) there really isn't any definitive source to offer a coherent account of the period, which is where imagination comes in. I'm more richly blessed for the Alfredian period, but there are still huge gaps and great shadows and endless mysteries, which is why fiction can go where historians dare not. But it is reading - reading - reading.


Q

Mr. Cornwell~ I noticed that someone else asked in your FAQs if you'd considered writing about the American Indian Wars, and you did not totally nix the idea. Surely the LAST thing you need is another area to research and another future novel on your to-do list, but there is a historical story that NEEDS to be told about the Cherokee, and I can't think of anyone better to tackle it. Maybe you can, if so, I'd love to share what info I have with them. There is a book called _Tell Them They Lie_ by a nephew of Sequoia named Traveller Byrd. A copy of it was given to me by an elderly Cherokee woman of Asheville North Carolina who felt it was her life's mission to spread the word that the Cherokee written language was not invented by Sequoia, but was old, pre-Columbian, only made avaliable by Sequoia of the Scribe Clan within the Cherokee, to the rest of the tribe. Making that knowledge available to other clans was his way of improving communication within the tribe when they were all in such jeopardy because of the white settlers coming in. The book tells of the history of Sequoia (aka George Guest, a name he took from a white man he'd killed), the origins of the Scribe Clan (A group of about two dozen refugees had joined the Cherokee after their people were destroyed by war, many generations previously.), their battles with the white settlers, the Trail of Tears, some of the part Sam Houston had in their history (He was very well thought of by the elderly Cherokee lady I got the book from. She was a granddaughter of his, though she had no interest in meeting another friend of mine who is a white grandddaughter of his.) Anyway, it's a fascinating story, and if you can't find the book (Aforementioned elderly Cherokee woman thinks it's a White Man's conspiracy that the book is nearly impossible to find.),I will gladly share my copy with you. Anyway, I can think of other writers who write wonderfully of Native American cultures, even historical fiction... but the intrigue and the wars, the fairness to both sides (as you might infer, there is a LOT of festering anger in Mr. Bird's book), and the...uh... messy, unpleasant, bloody stuff... I can't think of anyone else who could handle that as well as you do. Thanks heavens you can write full-time. Even with that, the way we are forever begging you for more, you had better live to be at least 120 years old, with all your wits about you. Best wishes on that. ;o) ~Pamela Scott

A

Thanks for the information, but you're right, I don't need more on my plate! I haven't totally dismissed the idea, but in all truth it's not on my radar screen, not even at the blurred edge, so I suspect it's unlikely - not because I don't like the idea, but because I have so many other books I want to write . . .


Q

Did you have any input into the casting of the Sharpe series? I think Sean Bean plays Sharpe superbly and Pete Postlethwaite, one of the best. Keep up the excellent work. Chris

A

I had no input - none at all, which is a good thing because I'd be horrible at casting. And I couldn't agree more - the actors picked for the parts were excellent.


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