Bulletin Board

Q

Thomas of Hookton; OK, so you have finished with the quest for the holy grail, but this giant of a man, this wonderful character... You have said that he will return. I know that Heretic came out in October 2003, but that is nearly three months ago! Must you sleep at nights? Must you stop writing to have your Christmas dinner? I am an Englishman who has retired to the depths of Wales. During the winter months, I am a 'rainbird' in Florida. I have only recently discovered your wonderful works (although I already knew about Sharpe). If you have the time to reply, I would dearly love to know if you have started off with another Thomas book. Best wishes for the new year, and may your mind continue to run through your pen. Tony Allison.

A

Herewith the bad news. I have started another Thomas of Hookton book, then stopped it - mainly because I felt that his story ended in Heretic and I was just trying to get too much for him. Which doesn't mean I won't pick the idea up again sometime in the future, but I hate to tell you that there won't be another Thomas of Hookton book this year - or next. But there will be something else and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!


Q

Hey, just thought I would send you a note as I am here on your site. Yesterday I bought "Harlequin". I had resisted buying into the whole historical novel franchise for a long time because a) the book covers on the Sharpe series seem so kitsch and b) I had thought them quite populist and c) potentially academic in detail. Well, I read a lot, and upon reading Master and Commander (hastily before the film came out) I realised that, hell this stuff is interesting. That said I was nearly put off by Patrick O'Brien's oft tedious detailing of British naval history. But I managed to read a couple of different authors until I happened upon your series in Waterstones. What a read! I'm pleased to say that Harlequin is definately the best story telling I've come across for a while. I'll be reading the whole series, I expect, now that I am over some of my prejudices. . This may be premature as I haven't even finished my first BC book yet (!!) but I think you combine history and storytelling better than any I have read, and the story on its own merits is as enthralling as any of the classic page turners. . Well done! Now about the covers. . . All the best Nikolai

A

I'm glad to know you gave the book a try. (And feel free to contact my publishers about the covers!)


Q

I took a novel on holiday some years ago and now cannot remember the title, maybe from my descriptions from what I can recall you may be able to help me. It involved a sea-going Captain from the Americas,who was trading with the French, finally allied himself with Sharpe, it was the year Major Hogan died from fever. I own a lot of Sharpe's Novels which I read over and over and would be indebted to you if you can give me the Title of this Sharpes Novel. Many thanks. Raymond Miller

A

The novel title you seek is Sharpe's Siege.


Q

Stand-to-horse!, is the first command of a Civil War Cavalry formation. Kind of like "fall in!". Re-enacting has been my hobby since 1976, our Bi-centennial got me started with a Rev. war F&I unit ST. Annes Parish Militia out of Ft. Des Chartres in Illinois. The ground around there is almost as fertile for history as it is for corn. If you get over that way stop off. South of St. Louis on the Illinois sideof the Mississippi. I've read every Cornwell book I've got ahold of and own most. Love em all. Did so from the beginning. I would like to hear more about that Kings German Legion troop from the Sharpe series. Most of your "horsework" is spot on. "has a good seat". There are several good units on the continent and UK. I transitioned to Mounted Cavalry in '78, 7th Ill. Vol. Cavalry, one of Col Greirsons units on his raid hollywood used for "Horse Soldiers". I am presently with Co.C, 5th Texas CAV., part of Old Ft. Griffith Mem. Regt. out of Texas. We do both Confederate and Union Civil War, and 1870's frontier CAv. In that role we act as agressors for and American indian re-enactment group in Wyoming's annuall, "buffalo days". Daylight patrols and skrimishs and night raids on picket lines. The "hostiles" "hunt" buffalo from horseback and we get invited to feast at end of Week. Wah! Shining times. Do you know of any good books on Maj. Patrick Ferguson. I've read his scottish biography. About his duel as Coronet, and his sucsessful campaign against Caribs. I had a replica of his rifle which was too tight and didn't work, Haven't talked to anyone with the new Naragansett replicas, understand the breech plug is tapered and leaks a little on firing about like a "Paper Cutter '59 Sharps". I think there is a Great story lurking in the History of this solitary British officer buried in Carolina. It was good chatting with you, keep up the good writing. Kenneth James

A

Remember that King George III (and the II and the I) was a Hanoverian, which meant he was ruler of Hanover as well as Britain. The King's German Legion was basically the rump of the Hanoverian army - Hanover was occupied by the French and the KGL reformed in Britain - infantry, cavalry and artillery, and very good they were too. After Napoleon's defeat they returned to Hanover and, eventually, became part of the German army - which is why some German regiments in the first world war had British battle honours on the standards. Life is complicated. I'm afraid I don't know of any good books on Maj. Patrick Ferguson, and I ought to. I do know that his rifle, which was very promising, was abandoned after his death - an interesting story and I'm lamentably ignorant about it.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell. I just want to say that your Warlord Chronicles rate amongst the best novels I have ever read. I recently resat my Higher English exam and used your novels as a study point. After lending them to my lecturer he became a fan overnight. Many thanks for the hours of entertainment. Keep up the great work! Michael Gillan


Q

I would first of all like to thank you for consistently writing brillant books over such a long period of time. I am now 18, I started reading your books when my brother gave me Sharpe's Waterloo and Battle Flag. From then on I have gone on to read Stonehenge, the Starbuck Chronicles and the Arthurian novels which I think are your best. I was just wondering if anyone has approached you for movie rights or scripting or anything like that for the Arthurian novels. I believe they would make a great movie if done right. Thank you for your time. I would be very grateful if you could reply but if you can't I will understand because you are a busy man p.s.are you going to get back to the Starbuck Chronicles as they are also a good series Thank you again. Brett

A

I have been approached regarding the Arthur books - but nothing's in the works at the moment. And I do hope to get back to Starbuck someday. Thanks for your message.


Q

Here's a wild one, and if it's been covered already, my apologies. A colleague of mine stumbled upon a book detailing the exploits of the Irish Regiments from 1683 to 1999. There is a specific example of a "promotion from the ranks to commissioned without purchase." It singles out a workhouse orphan who enlisted at the age of 12 in 1797. At the siege of Bhurtpore 1804-05, he performed with such gallantry that he was given an ensigncy, and was almost at once promoted to a lieutenancy. He later wrote a paper (1831) decrying the practice of flogging as "barbarous," which greatly influenced Sir Francis Burdett, MP, in his campaign against the punishment. He left detailed accounts of his service. His name, was Shipp. Mike Holbrook

A

And he wrote a very good autobiography that ought to be republished! Thanks.


Q

Dear Bernard, After reading and enjoying the Sharpe and Starbuck novels many times over, a friend recommended that I read the Arthur books. I was skeptical at first, thinking I might not like the era as much as the 19th century. However, after devouring them in a matter of a couple of weeks I must agree that they are simply awesome. They are the greatest 'page turners' I have ever read, especially 'Enemy of God'. The moment when Ceinwyn gets off the boat in 'Excalibur' made me blub for a long time!!! So thank you very much for these books - it was a shame they had to come to an end. The Grail Quest trilogy was also extremely good. I am very much looking forward to 'Sharpe's Escape' and to meeting you again at one of your book signings / talks. Good luck with all your future projects - we cannot wait!!! Best wishes, Berj Tekerian


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I completely enjoy the "Sharpe" series. The novels are fast-paced, and are a worthy successor to the Forester "Horatio Hornblower" series of naval adventure novels. It was rather sad, however, to see the "Sharpe" series essentially draw to a close -- in terms of timeline -- with the death of Napoleon. May I suggest a post-Napoleon theme ? Perhaps Lt. Col. Sharpe may make a return to India, in the 1820's, and tangle with the insidious and mysterious Thugees ? This period in Indian/British colonial history is a very interesting one -- yet goes largely ignored by modern-day authors. Mr. Sharpe could well be in the employ of the Foreign Service...a representative of some commercial house...return as a brigadier to organize and advise a colonial militia...this reader shall leave those details up to you. It would truly be interesting to know what became of Mr. Sharpe, in his latter years. As an aside, RE: the "Starbuck" series, there was a family from North Weymouth, Massachusetts, by the name of Starbuck. Several of this family were involved in the Civil War. One family member, a Major Starbuck ( whose first name I cannot recall ), was a surgeon in the 18th. Mass. Volunteer Militia, and ( curiously, for a surgeon ) fell at Spotsylvania. There is a monument to him, and other Weymouth fallen, in a very old burial ground situated in North Weymouth ( once called "Old Spain ), in the vicinty of the Abigail Adams Homestead. As you reside on the Cape, you may find this a somewhat interesting. I look forward to reading the next "Sharpe" installment. Very truly yours, J. Casey

A

Maybe Sharpe will - I never quite know what he will do till he does it, but a return to India would be interesting - and the Thugs are fascinating. I do find your Starbuck story interesting, thank you! I was hugely annoyed by one (US) review that chided me because Starbuck was such an 'unAmerican' name, when it was, of course, well known on Nantucket and also, indeed, the name of the First Mate of the Pequod in Moby Dick. Don't get much more Yankee than that! So thank you, and the next time I'm in Weymouth I'll look for the gallant Starbuck.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I came across your Sharpe books quite by mistake, but what a mistake! I then read all of the Sharpe series one after the other, often reading a book in one sitting. I very recently came across Sharpes Havoc. A tremendous surprise! For some reason I thought Sharpe was finished! I thought I would give Gallows Thief a try over Christmas and I just could not put it down. Wasn't it just like that green jacketed rifle officer to help Sandman out when he was in trouble?! Excellent! Did you know that Brian Lavery in 'Jack Aubrey Commands' says "The best fictional account of Trafalgar comes in a military novel- Sharpe's Trafalgar." Many thanks and please keep up the good work. Nathan

A

I didn't, but I'm delighted to hear it! Thank you.