Your Questions

Q

Dear Bernard.

I am reading your books again after a long break and so pleased to be carried away by the powerful stories and vivid descriptions.  I can't think of a more inspiring and exciting historical basis for a novel than the siege of Harlech..  What do you think?

 

A

I confess I know very little about any of the sieges of Harlech.  I will learn more, though whether there’s a novel there I can’t tell.

 


Q

Dear Bernard

I know this is cheeky and you'll probably say no but I have to ask.  Have you ever considered writing a series or a book about Davouts battles and Campaigns. He was a brilliant Military Commander and it would avoid meeting Sharpe too

Regards

Geraint

A

I don’t think it’s cheeky at all, but alas, I’ve never considered writing about Davout, and I fear I probably won’t! Sorry!

 


Q

I was determined not to be this person.  I have read all of the questions and comments on this site and have seen over and over people asking for more Nathaniel Starbuck, and over and over again your reply that it was not likely.  So much so that I only read them out of desperation for more of your books having read everything else.  I wasn’t even going to read them because I didn’t want to find myself here begging for more.  That being said and knowing the answer to the question of if you will ever bring him back, I would like to know why you are no longer interested in continuing that series. I have many theories.  One being that it is kind of politically incorrect at the moment to have a confederate hero.  I am somewhat conflicted myself having grown up in the south where there was a lost cause love for the southern cause (of states rights).  To now being a fully educated and informed adult realizing that it was a cause better lost than won, and that romanticizing the southern plight has only lead to a prolonging of problems within the nation.

Thank you for your time,

Whitfield Brackett

 

 

Hello Bernard,

I have to ask a question that you are probably tired of answering , are you planning on finishing the Starbuck Chronicles? The series is some of the best I have ever read about the American Civil War and although I know it has been 25 years since the last book in this series I am have just now finished the first 4 books. Great stuff to say the least.  I have read every single book series that you have written (all within the last year) and you are now one of my all time favorite authors , not trying to blow smoke just telling my truth.  I do see that you have another Sharpe book coming which is fantastic news , I watched the TV movies a couple of times before reading the books (which were as usual when comparing a book to a movie or TV series so much better) and eagerly await the new one.  I also cannot wait for the new Uhtred book (The Saxon Stories) , I am assuming that it is coming sooner than later?

But back to my original question , will you be completing the Starbuck Chronicles? I and am sure many others truly hope you do. They are brilliant!

Sincerely,

Robert Nelson

 

You really need to write another Nathaniel Starbuck book.  One of my favorite book series.

Paul Kroth

 

Do you intend to let us know what becomes of Nate Starbuck?  I've been immersing myself in American Civil War literature, particular historical fiction, because I (unfortunately) see many similarities to that era and the present times, and after reading the Starbuck Chronicles to date I am left wondering what happened to him. I really appreciate your portrayal of him: not a comic book hero, but very human, yet heroic at the same time. I, for one, would really enjoy it if you chose to return to the series and continue it, but I also understand the tightrope any author would be walking in the current climate if writing anything that even resembles the slightest praise (or even a lack of condemnation) for anything "Confederate".

John W Theisen

 

Hi Bernard,

I expect you stopped reading at the subject as I do not suspect but know that you have been asked this question a hundred times before... nay a thousand. You could give me the same three word answer you give them "Rule nothing out" However, just between us you do know if you are ever likely to return to him. You may not want to commit yourself but as I am just a nobody fan who has read everything you have ever written and have been doing so for what seems like most of my life and will continue to do so for what remains of  that life it would not commit you to anything to tell me your gut feeling on the subject. Indeed I would understand when the "my=use" has gone it has gone. There have been many wonderful stories since and I pray many more but I would dearly love to know if I can maintain a brief hope or if I must resign myself to the fact that Nate has ridden his last.

Thank you for you consideration and may I once again thank you for many many hours of adventure and history.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Dangerfield

 

Dear Bernard

Now that you’ve completed (?) the Last Kingdom books (which are even better than the Sharpe novels, though the Arthurian books remain my favourites), when are you going to return to the Starbuck series? They seem very truncated! I’ll also be interested to see how you deal with a hero who inevitably must end up on the losing side.

Thanks for all of your work, most of which I’ve read more than once.

Cheers

Nigel

A

I’m not certain I can give you a coherent answer – I think Starbuck just rather faded with me and I don’t have any real interest in finishing his story. I know that’s unsatisfactory, but there it is. I suppose that could change some day?

 


Q

Good afternoon (or morning, noon or night)

I hope this message finds you well.

My girlfriend and I are currently taking a break from the Last Kingdom series to read The Grail Quest (for the second time). She sits atop the kitchen side and reads aloud while I cook. It is a delight. We also recently purchased Azincourt and The Winter King. And Sharpe ... well, I need say no more. It is safe to say we are huge fans and would just like to thank you for the good times.

The reason I write is actually to understand the use of 'hoof' and 'hooves'. A trivial matter, but It seems we come across both in your books and it is always pointed out between us, so I figured I would write to the man himself to get some insight - if indeed there is any.

We absolute love Thomas and his journey. His growth, success and turmoil, and the relationships with each character through out are so nicely balanced. Offering just the right amount to move him forward or back at the intended pace. Sir Guillaume and Robbie in particular. We would actually have loved to have seen this on the screen too - my girlfriend always jokes I should write the screenplay. I have, however, absolutely no experience or ability that would enable me to do this.

Its always an education, the historical notes are equally appreciated and we look forward to reading more.

I hope you have not set aside anything too important to address our musing, but I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Chris

A

I suspect I prefer hooves, and can only think hoofs was a mistake.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I was wondering if you found it difficult to return to the character of Sharpe after so long? Have you enjoyed re-establishing the link? Also now that you are back there, are you tempted to write more books about Sharpe?

Alan Corken

A

I can’t say it was difficult. It has been many years since I last wrote a Sharpe book, but he has lived in my mind for all that time and it was a pleasure to revive him – grumpy as ever. And yes, it’s such a pleasure being with him that I am tempted to let him loose again, but I haven’t made that decision yet.

 


Q

I read in the end pages of 'The Last Kingdom' that your ancestors lived in Bamburgh Castle and by coincidence wife's family also lived there in the distant past. May I ask what era that your family were there? We have employed genealogists of varying skill to try and unravel the details but without a great deal of success, except that one character managed to escape from Newgate prison having been guilty of supporting the Jacobite cause in Northumberland. My wife looks distinctly Scandinavian and her dna suggests that her ancestors were Danish so I do hope that her ancestors were not responsible for your ancestor's loss! I look forward to receiving any details which you may have.

Many thanks and Kind Regards

Robert Hall

A

The story of my family’s loss of Bamburgh is beautifully told in Richard Fletcher’s book Bloodfeud, Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England (Allen Lane, 2002).  That loss happened in 1016 and there are Scandinavian fingerprints all over the crime!  I can’t regret the loss because the castle’s heating bills alone would break the bank!

 


Q

We know Sharpe will not fight in the War of 1812.  Have you considered doing a book about CPT Frederickson's adventures in the War of 1812?

Steve Greaf

A

There are certainly some wonderful stories about that war and for a long time I’ve collected research on Ross’s expedition which ended with the burning of Washington. And it is an extraordinary story, but so far it hasn’t sparked an ambition to turn it into a novel – but who knows? It might happen.

 


Q

I love all your books but find myself reading Waterloo time and time again. I have a question, why when the French cavalry charged the anglo-dutch squares did the French not support with Infantry? With the British in square the French could have advanced right up to Wellingtons ridge without any bombardment at all? This would have surely won the day.

Trevor

A

I think you’re right, that an ‘all-arms’ assault on the British right might well have broken through. Why didn’t they? I suspect the fault lies with Ney who had been given control of the battle by Napoleon, and Ney, who is an admirable man in many ways, must have thought the British line was so attenuated that it could not possibly resist a mass cavalry charge. It failed, of course, but Ney persisted time and again, thus effectively destroying the cavalry. He did want to mass an assault on Le Haye Sainte, but Napoleon refused him the troops – another missed opportunity. I suspect the answer to your question is that Ney believed the British were on the point of utter defeat and so kept hurling the cavalry at the ridge.


Q

Dear Sir

Thanks for confirming that so far Price and Weller are still alive.  Although I understand that can change :-) I have a question regarding screen adaptations of your works.  I know you cannot give examples but have there ever been times when you've either been baffled by the screen adaptation or even thought?

"I understand poetic license but that has strayed too far away from my story".

I can give you a couple of examples one that absolutely baffles me (although i still watch it when I'm doing a Sharpe-a-thon.  Sharpe's Gold the screen adaptation totally baffles me.

And the other one that i felt unnecessary (even if they want Sharpe being a ladies' man) was killing off Lucille, when we all know that she ultimately outlives Sharpe and they have 2 children together.

Speaking of that.  The impression I get from how the store of their son's description of his mother still missing his father, that Sharpe lives to a pretty decent age for the period of time based in.  70s or even mid 80s?

Thanks for giving us one last Sharpe.  And I cannot wait until this is no longer second nature to say..........Stay safe

Lee

A

Yes, the film 'Sharpe's Gold' is quite different from the book!  The story was changed due to the loss of the original actor slated to play Sharpe and concerns with an insurance company..


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

I have been reading your books since I was in high school some 21 years ago. My favorite series is the warlord chronicles followed by the Saxon stories which I have reread so many times I’ve lost count. So it’s fair to say that your works alone have inspired me in my attempt to write a novel, thus leading to the problem I now face. So I decided to ask you, my source of inspiration, for your advice on the subject. I have started a book set in the early medieval period but I keep getting mired in my attempts to be as accurate as possible. I know that historical fiction is just that, fiction, and some wiggle room is to be expected; however, in trying to keep everything as accurate as possible I find I get overwhelmed with information and detail. Be it describing how a place appears, technology available at that time, known relationships, etc. What advice would you proffer to help with this research overload? Should I sacrifice detail for expediency and ease? Should I trudge on with research that an unknown but probably high percentage of readers (being optimistic there) wouldn’t notice or even care about? Any sage advice would be warmly received.

 

Yours truly,

Chad H.

A

There comes a point when you simply have to let the story loose. There isn't any rule. Research is lifelong, and my research for a book goes on all through the writing of it. You can't research everything! You have to let go at some point and let your own imagination take the tale over - if you don't do that then you're not writing fiction, and if you're a storyteller then your job is to write fiction - not be an historian. But your imagination does need stuff to feed on, so you research as far as you can (until it becomes too frustrating and you can start writing)