Hello and happy New Year to you! (Better late than never). I have a few questions about the Pale Horseman after finishing it for the third time the other day, but I would like to thank you for signing some of my books in Sunderland, might I suggest a very good Waterstones shop in Middlesbrough for your next tour? First of all I was wondering why there's no index of people's names in the Saxon stories like there is in the Warlord chronicles? Some names are similar to each other and it was made much easier in the Arthur tales by flicking to the front.
I was also wondering is there a difference to the bow Eofer carried to what Thomas of Hookton & co would have used?
In regards to Lords of the North Country, now that Ragnar the younger is once again prisoner, is there a chance he will join Alfred? It would bring down barriers for his and Uhtred's campaign to topple Kjartan and Sven....
Last of all it seems to me that the historical notes are getting shorter in your novels. I don't know if this is down the publishers but I particularly enjoy them and see no need for them to be shortened! Thanks for your time, James Trethowan.
Mainly because so many people complained about the list in the Warlord Chroonicles - they suggested that it made the book look too complicated! I think it's a good idea, and perhaps we'll risk it in some later editions.
None at all, really. The classic yew longbow has a history in Britain going back to at least 2000 BC (discovered in a grave in Yorkshire). Thomas's bow would have been made of better yew (imported from Italy or Spain), but the native yew still made a very powerful weapon. Why was it not used more often? Simply because of the immense difficulty of mastering the longbow - you needed to be immensely strong, and had to learn to aim without looking down the arrow's shaft (because you drew it to your ear). I reckon it took ten years to make an archer.
Wait and see! All I'll tell you is that Ragnar doesn't join Alfred, but as for the rest?
I think they're probably as long as they need to be! And it all rather depends on the novel. In the new book (Lords of the North) it is short, mainly because there isn't much to say, but I'm not deliberately shortening them. I'm writing a Sharpe at the moment and I suspect that note will have to be quite long to put the tale into its context.