Your Questions

Q

Mr. Cornwell, it is a pleasure to write to you. I'm from Brazil and I'm reading the Vagabond and I have a question. David the Bruce is son of the Robert the 17 Bruce right? And Who is the son of Eduard the longshanks of england? And there is any king of England that is son of William Wallace of Scotland like is told in the movie braveheart? The Wiliam Wallace story is trust? Sorry for my bad English and congratulation for your books are the best. thanks Netto.

A

David the Bruce was the son of the great Robert the Bruce. Edward I ('Longshanks') was succeeded by his son, Edward II, whose mother was Eleanor of Castile. No king of England was the son of William Wallace. Eleanor was long dead before he was around and Edward's next wife, Margaret, did not come to England till long after Wallace had been defeated. The film Braveheart is very bad history, and utterly untrustworthy.


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

Dear Mr Cornwell, I have read many of your novels and you were kind enough to autograph one for me. Is there a possibility of writing something about the Crimean War? michael calkins

A

It's crossed my mind, but I have no plans for it at the moment.


Q

I'm just starting "Sharpe's Siege." I've thoroughly enjoyed all the preceding volumes and although I look forward to finishing the series I'm sure there will be a sense of loss. There's just one thing. In every volume, it seems like there's one word, or one reference, that's a little jarring -- a word that's not quite right, or a reference that's anachronistic, etc. It's occurred to me that perhaps you do it on purpose just to see if we're paying attention. I'd have to go back through the books to find most of the examples. One example is the reference to "siamese twins" in "Sharpe's Regiment." It was my understanding that the term was coined to describe Chang and Eng Bunker. Although they were born in 1811 (in Siam), and the novel is set in late 1813, it seems doubtful to me that the term "siamese twins" would have been in use in England that early. Any thoughts? Bill Nourse

A

Siamese twins in Regiment? I'm an idiot, that's why. The term isn't recorded in English till 1830, so I was wrong.


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.


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