Your Questions

Q

Hi Bernard, Thank you so much for the many hours of enjoyment I've received from reading all of your Sharpe, Arthur, Grail Quest and Saxon stories. Is Azincourt going to be the beginning of a new series or a stand-alone story? Any plans to come anywhere near Cleveland in the near future?

Nancy Maklin

A

A stand-alone...I think...that could change....

No plans right now to be in Cleveland.


Q

Dear Bernard I have read nearly all of your works and they have been my favourites for all of my teenage years, also as an Irish man you never fail to impress me with the knowledge of the pride which is deeply held within the people of our nation especially evident in the form of Harper and Oengus Mac Airem and I thank you for blessing our country with such rich characters. I know you are very busy at this moment in time but wondered if you had ever considered using any of the ancient Irish heroes such as Cúchulainn for a book or series I imagine you could remove or alter some of the more ridiculous flights of fancy to produce a thrilling and engaging read such as you did with the Arthur novels. Im not sure if this is a sensible request or just my own desire to see these stories retold by a modern day bard. Yours with admiration and respect, Richard

A

Ancient Irish heroes would make wonderful stories, but I've always taken the view that Irish history is best written by Irish folk.


Q

Dear Bernard, I would first like to thank you for my last great read Sword Song, and I can't wait for the next book in the Saxon stories. And also I would like to ask you about the Grail stories should we expect another book soon? And I would love to know what happened at the end of the Arthur books with Derfel and how he came to be a monk under Sansum? A small story about the missing years would be welcome by all fans. What do you think? Anyway thank you again and keep up the good work. Andy from England.

A

I'm glad to know you like my books Andy. Alas, both the Grail Quest series and the Arthur books are finished and I will not be adding to either.


Q

I have loved all of your books that I've managed to read so far - their subject matter and your style - many more to come I hope. Would you ever consider writing a book(s) about the Zulu/Boer wars or indeed a re-writing of the Robin Hood legend as per the Arthur chronicles?
Garry Reeves

A

I've considered both...but I'm not sure it will happen. Too many other things I'd like to write first.


Q

Over the years have read and enjoyed your books immensely, I note that a forthcoming publication entitled "Azincourt" ( Oct 2008)is this a continuation of a present series or the start of a new saga? Peter Jones

A

It is new.


Q

Mr Cornwell Listened to Stonehenge. You had all these people more or less thinking in prehistoric ways, and it was all believable. And you put them in such peril. There were times I thought I knew what would happen, and you proved me wrong. Always one or more steps ahead of your reader. All most enjoyable. Thank you. --- The voices: was there a bit of Julian Jaynes there? Ed Hume

A

Thank you! I have to make the awful confession that I haven't listened to any of my audio books. I write the things six or seven times, then I have to read page proofs (US and UK) and then galley proofs (US and UK), and by that moment I never want to see, hear or smell the book ever again!


Q

Dear Bernard, I enjoy all your books; the stories and characterisations are just great. Having just read Sword Song, I was particularly impressed with your writing craftsmanship; the use of language was very good. Are you just getting better with age, or are you consciously working hard at improving your skill as you go? I ask this with professional interest, as a full time artist I am myself constantly trying to improve and get better. Sadly. a lot of authors that I have read for a number of years seem to fade, or maybe "rest on their laurels". But you are a notable exception! Are you actively working at this? Kind regards, Rick

A

I have no idea!! I like what I do, but I fear I rarely think about the mechanics of it. I think about plot a great deal, and characterisation, but tend to leave the words to look after themselves! But thank you so much for your very kind words!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell Like your other commenters, I have very much enjoyed all of your work. I am currently reading my way through the Sharpe series, having taken care to do so in chronological order, and I have just finished "Sharpe's Eagle". I noted what you said by way of a preface about having written the Indian books after the Spanish ones, and I have also noted some other questions you have answered about what happened to Sharpe's jewels. However I still felt that there was a rather noticeable difference in Sharpe's character between "Trafalgar" and "Eagle". In the latter he is portrayed as no longer a young man and sexually somewhat naive, whereas in the former he still seems to be relatively young and his affair with the lady on board ship is anything but naive!

And, as others have noticed, there is the business about the jewels, with him being repeatedly described as poor in "Eagle" and not a mention of the wealth he gained in India (whatever happened to it later). Another point that struck me in "Eagle" is that he is said to have been taught to read in prison in India by the captain who dies at the bridge in Spain, whereas my (admittedly unreliable) memory of the earlier books is that he was taught by the elderly Scots colonel. I wonder if you have ever considered editing the Spanish books a bit to iron out some of the minor points arising from the (later written)Indian ones?

Dear Mr Cornwell Please add this to my previous message, sent today. Having just been to the library, I now realise that (a) "Sharpe's Prey" covers the period between "Trafalgar" and the first of the Spanish books. I assume it was added to the series for this purpose and I think I may have been working from an older list of titles when I thought that "Sharpe's Rifles" immediately followed "Sharpe's Trafalgar" (and omitted to read "Sharpe's Prey" in the correct order, dammit!) (b) I said "Sharpe's Eagle" where I should have referred to "Sharpe's Rifles" as the first Spanish book, in my previous message. I apologise for the confusion but(before I have read "Prey")I still feel that Sharpe of the Spanish books does not seem to be quite the same fellow that we knew at the end of "Trafalgar". Michael Saville

A

Not sure what I can say about that.

I have thought of ironing out the inconsistencies, but it is not something that would happen until the series is complete - if it ever happens.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I wrote to you a little while ago saying that I had read the Saxon series and how much I had enjoyed them. I was watching a film last night with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis called The Viking. One of the viking leaders was called Ragnar. Have you seen this film and did it give you any ideas for your book?
Graham Roberts

A

I saw it years ago, and I don't think it had any influence whatsoever! Ragnar was a very common Viking name . . . .


Q

I wonder with his years advancing what Sharpe would do with the medal that was awarded for Waterloo. Would he collect it? Would he see it as frippery or something no real soldier would need or want?Indeed would he live long enough to claim any of the other medals Military General Service Medal and all the clasps, and the Army of India medal, that he would be entitled to? would he ever be nominated for other Honours? Would he accept if he had? They are just thoughts but it would be interesting to know. I have my thoughts what about yours? Neil White

A

I think he'd probably collect whatever medals came his way and put them in a drawer somewhere. I doubt he'd ever get an honour, mainly because he's going to live out his days in France and will be well forgotten by the men who dish those things out.