Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell. I dont suppose you remember me from AGES ago when I used to email you quite regularly via this form. ANyway, I hope you are well and enjoying your travels. I just had to write after having a marathon sessions of your novels. In the past 3 months Ive read 10 Sharpe books (Prey, Havoc, Escape, Sword, Fortress, Honour, Regiment, Waterloo, Revenge and Tiger) both of the Uhtred novels and Stonehenge. Its got to the stage that Im gong to have to buy muself duplicate copies of your novels, because Sharpes Gold has been read at least 20 times...and is actually falling apart. It is a very battered, much loved copy - but it may have to be retired. And I have many more of your books in the same condition. I own two copies of Fortress, one of them signed which I am too scared to read - its one of my prized posessions! I was wondering (and I know its been asked many a time before) how many more Sharpe novels you have planned, and are you planning on retiring him any time soon? ON another note - I wanted to thank you for mentioning the ISle de Maurise - Im half Mauritian, and not many people know of it. Many more do now because it is an up and comming holiday destination, but after years of telling people where my mother was from only to be met with "Where?" it was fantastic to have it mentioned in your story - thanks! On another note, would you ever consider putting a sly nod to your fans in any of the Sharpe novels. I am desperately in love with Mister Sharpe and would love my name(Angela) to be even slightly associated with his as one of his many women. Hell...even if it was a servant girl that just got a glimpse of him - It'd make my day, hell - itd make my year! :D On another note, just wanted to tell you how much I love The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman. Almost as much as I love Sharpe. You always manage to amaze me. I read The Pale Horseman in one sitting. It took me just under 6 hours...I physically couldnt put it down. I enjoy writing, and have a few short stories published on the net at www.fanfiction.net and have always recieved positive reviews, and one day I hope I can come up with an original idea, and have the time, patience, and imagination to make a real go of it. Im waiting eagerly for the new Sharpe film...I was wondering if it would be possible...since the films don't strictly adhere to the novels whether it would be possible to make a film of Sharpe's Prey...only move it on a little in the timeline just so it was before Waterloo? I love that novel, and the story of the bombardment of Copenhagen fascinates me. Id love to see it made as a production. Many thanks for many years of pleaseure - Ive been reading your books since I was 12, Im now almost 23! Take care, god bless. Angie xxxxx

A

A film of Sharpe's Prey? I guess anything is possible but there are no plans for it at the moment.

Be careful for what you wish! Sharpe now has a mission to find Angela . . . . . . . .


Q

A little back ground on me before I ask my question: I was originally in the US Army for 3 years, then got out and served 12 in my beloved USMC, I am now in the Virginia Army National Guard. I have a total of 21 years and some change in and a couple of combat tours to boot. In spite of all this I have a hard time understanding the "regimental" system. In the Army, units are divided into: Armies, Corps, Divisions, Brigades, Battalions and then Companies. Then within this structure the battalions are members of regiments which have virtually no operational control over said battalion. They appear to be just "clubs" that certain units belong to. Example: I am a member of A Company 276th Engineer Battalion, 1st Virginia Regiment. (however there is no regimental HQ) It is a one battalion regiment like the South Essex. Now on the other hand, when I was in the Marines they used Regiments (there were regimental HQs) instead of brigades unlike the Army. I am assuming this is because we take our heritage from the British Royal Marines. My question (finally) is: how is it in the British Military? Do the US Marines closely resemble a true regimental system or the US army? I must admit a great deal of confusion on this subject. If there is no HQ and no operational control exists over a unit I don't see the point. I'm asking you because you are very knowlegable in the field of military history and I think the British started all of this anyway. Don Sawyer

A

I think the point is that a British regiment, essentially, is an administrative unit. That makes it sound rather dull and ordinary, which it is not. In one sense the regiments trace their heritage back to the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, the army which was raised shire by shire, and overwhelmingly British regiments were county (or shire, same thing) regiments. Thus they served to recruit men on a local basis, and there was a good deal of local pride in a county's regiment (which is why you can still see their regimental colours hung up in retirement in the county's cathedral). The regiment, then, served to recruit men, train them and then keep them trained. It was never designed as a unit to go and fight independently, instead it sent its battalions to fight under general officers. Much of that has changed with successive defence cuts, but even so the regimental system is still mostly a geographical one - you have the Royal East Anglians instead of Suffolk regiments and Essex and Norfolk regiments. Some regiments were not geographical - the Rifles never were (though traditionally they recruited heavily in London), nor were the Guards, nor the specialist units like artillery and engineers. I can't see any difficulty here. It's not that much different from the system that applied in the American Civil War - the 14th Massachusetts (say) was never meant to be an independent fighting unit with its own operational control, general staff etc - it raised men, it trained them, and then it sent the men to fight under the army's control. I'm woefully ignorant of how the USMC derived its regimental system - whatever the answer it plainly works brilliantly! I hope this helps!


Q

hello Mr Cornwell. I have loved all of your Sharpe books,, and it has given me a great interest in the period. I was wondering what the roll of the Hussars was. I have found that they had their own roll, mostly taken by light dragoons in the British army, but have been unable to tell what that is. And also, what are Chasseurs, for I believe they are cavalry, but in S. Escape they fight as infantry. thankyou for your time. Chris

A

Hussars is really just a fancy name for light cavalry - the original hussars were Hungarian and made a fearsome name for themselves in the late middle ages, and the name was borrowed to decorate light cavalry regiments in a number of European armies. The role of the light cavalry, on the whole, was to scout for the army, to man vedettes (sentry posts well forward of an army's position) and, of course to pursue a beaten enemy. They did other things, too, and could join in a charge on enemy positions (though heavy cavalry was preferred for that). The guys in Sharpe's Escape are just taking potshots, I'm not sure they are true dismounted infantry (that's a role for the dragoons). It is confusing - there are so many names for cavalry - chasseurs, dragoons, hussars, lancers, cuirassiers - but in essence they're either heavy or light and the labels are merely there for unit pride.


Q

Thanks for being such an entertaining author, once I get started reading any of your novels I struggle to put it down. This doesn't go down too well at work when I'm reading during my breaks!! I've just started reading The Last Kingdom (I've had to buy a second copy because I packed the first copy away when I moved) and in the place names list you have Abingdon in Berkshire! Is this due to an old map?!!! Looking forward to the next Sharpe installment, thanks once again, Stu

A

It's due to plain stupidity on my part! It happens . . . .


Q

Mr. Cornwell, Do you think that you will ever write any stories about Hereward the Wake and the Normans conquering Britain? Thanks for all the sleepless nights reading your books. Dave

A

I haven't been considering Hereward the Wake, but it is a good tale, so who knows? I've thought of the Normans, but it is not likely to happen any time soon.


Q

Mr Cornwell (may I call you bernard?) This new Sharpe then, what rank will he be? I love reading about sharpie when he's major exercising his command muscles! please tell me you plan a book after Waterloo with him as Colonel of the Prince of Wales Own?! P/s I wrote (ages ago now) about what holds your Heavy Cavalry Sword above your fireplace and about how the missus wouldn't let me have it above the fire place but she relented! it now hangs proudly on a beautiful red tassel! I can't wait until my daughter starts bring home boys and I can intimidate them with it!! Ben

A

A very good weapon for intimidating boys! Go for it. The new Sharpe? He's still a captain. I'm filling in gaps . . so he will get higher again . . but at the battle of Barossa he's a captain.


Q

Thanks for the Starbuck Chronicles. I enjoyed the series tremendously. I surely hope Nate will catch up with that *$#% Billy Blythe somewhere down the road. Any thought about another Starbuck? I just purchased the Grail Quest Trilogy, and can't wait to jump into that. Joe Holtgrewe

A

I am giving Starbuck a thought or two - but it won't happen until the Sharpe series is finished.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, first I have to thank you for your books on the Peninsular Wars, which introduced me to the english POV on the aera. I am a historin myself - but since I am Austrian, "our" take on the Napoleonic Wars is quite different (Austria once more seeking her luck in marrying off her daughters to the enemy and all that ...) So here comes the usual humble request: Could you send Mr. Sharpe to Vienna one day? (Wellington went there for the Congress ...) Thank you for the many many hours of great reading you have given me. Leila

A

I'm sure Sharpe would love to go to Austria! I'm not sure he can make the Congress of Vienna, but I'll bear it in mind and do my best to have him visit one day.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I would like to begin by saying that it is kind of you to take time out of your day to answer the questions from your readers. I don't believe there are many best-selling authors willing to do so, and for that I thank you. I'm thrilled to see that you intend to continue the Sharpe series (it is by far my favorite). I do have a question regarding McCandless. He was one of my favorite characters (as short lived as he was) and I'm wondering if Sharpe will ever discover Hakeswill's involvement in McCandless untimely death. I do thank you for your time. Sincerely, Debra Kellar, Mt. Prospect,IL USA

A

I imagine Sharpe suspects it, but I don't think he ever had it confirmed, and now, I suspect, he never will. I liked McCandless too, and was sorry when he died.


Q

Just like to thank you for the many hours I've spent reading your stories, possibly the most pleasurable I have spent (well reading anyway). Also congratulations upon having the best website by an author I have ever seen. My question is which of your more minor characters is your favourite? for me it's Issa from the Warlord chronicles or Helena from the Sharpe series. Steve

A

Minor? I'm very fond of Father Pyrlig in The Pale Horseman, but I think my favourite is probably Major General Nairn.


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