Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell

I am very grateful that you wrote all your books.  I believe that I have read and many times re-read them all, each time with the greatest enjoyment.

One question if I may.  Why did you decide to write some of them in the first person and some in the third?  I'm just curious.  Thank you for writing such wonderful stories and for taking the time to answer (if you do).

John McNamee

A

It's swings and roundabouts. You do lose something by writing in the first person- not just the suspense of whether the main character will survive (which he or she usually does even in third person narratives), but also the alternative points of view that can increase suspense - i.e. you can watch an ambush being laid, then watch your hero walking into it. On the other hand there's an immediacy to the first person which can increase excitement and pace. I don't think one is any better than the other - and though most of my books are third person I enjoy doing the first.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I've devoured the books of the Last Kingdom Series.  I've admired the brilliant way in which you have developed the storylines, and with them the carefully constructed characters of the protagonists and their interactions.  These have formed powerful images and expectations in my mind: Uhtred, Brida, King Edward, Stiorra, Sigtryggr, Father Prylig, King Constantine, and so many more ... I know it's just fictionalised history but ... Where did second son Uhtred get to?  Why have not only the storylines but also the characters been steered so fundamentally off-piste by Series 5?  What was wrong with what you had so meticulously crafted?

Yours sincerely,

Simon Mainwaring

 

A

I do not have any input into the TV series. Yes, they did make some drastic changes, but I assume the constraints of TV production dictated those and I enjoyed the series anyway! It’s rather as if you get a whole new Uhtred story, and why not?  And I am looking forward to the movie Seven Kings Must Die.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell

I am a huge fan of your work and really enjoy reading your novels and spending time in the company of Richard Sharpe, and Patrick Harper. I was delighted to see you return to Sharpe and I thoroughly enjoyed Sharpe’s Assassin. I would so much love to see Sharpe’s story continue and I was wondering if you ever considered the following historical events which could serve as the backdrop of a future Richard Sharpe story?

 

1823

The French Intervention in Spain

 

Historical Note:

 

Congress of Verona: 1822

  • Duke of Wellington was the UK representative and opposed French military intervention in Spain.
  • Despite UK opposition. Austria, Prussia and Russia allowed France to invade Spain to restore Ferdinand VII as an absolute monarch
  • The French force was known as the Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis and led by the Duke of Angoulême
  • The invasion culminated with the Battle of Trocadero – 31st August 1823

 

 

1827 to 1829

The Greek War of Independence (Foreign Intervention part of the war)

 

Historical Note:

  • A wave of Philhellenism or love of classic Greek culture inspired many in Britain to support Greek independence. Lord Byron arrived in Greece to help liberate the country and formed his Byron brigade but died from illness (and excessive bleeding by doctors) in 1824.
  • On 7 February 1825, a second loan to Greece was floated in the City of London which meant there was a massive investment of money riding on Greece achieving its independence.
  • When Tsar Nicholas I succeeded Alexander in December 1825, George Canning sent the Duke of Wellington to Russia, and the outcome was the Protocol of St Petersburg of 4 April 1826.
  • George Canning wrote, rather than run the risk of Russia defeating the Ottomans alone, Britain would have to intervene to stop the "barbarisation project" as the British did not wish to see the Russians conquer the Ottoman Empire
  • On the 20 October 1827, the Battle of Navarino is the last major battle fought by sailing ships – a combined French, British and Russian fleet defeats an Ottomon/Egyptian fleet.
  • January 1828 – Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister.
  • August 1828 – a French expeditionary force landed in Greece (the Morea expedition)
  • 12 September 1829 the Battle of Petra, the last battle of the war of independence and the first time the Greek army used European style army tactics having formed into a regular army.

 

 

1830

The July Revolution

 

Historical Note

  • The three glorious days saw the French revolutionaries show amazing military tactics and discipline (mostly due to Napoleonic veterans)
  • The three columns of French soldiers sent into Paris, were surrounded and cut off by a series of barricades. Barricades had only been used briefly in the 1789 French revolution, it was the 1830 revolution that saw thousands of barricades erected all over Paris.
  • When the Swiss guards left the Tuileries Palace, somebody left the door open which enabled the mob to take the palace and thus effectively defeat Marshall Marmont.

 

 

1831

The French Foreign Legion

 

Historical Note

  • Founded in 1831, as a means of (1) dealing with all of the foreign soldiers still in France and (2) sending troops to French Algeria
  • Interestingly members of the legion swear allegiance to the Legion and not France.
  • The legion was made up of rogues, adventurers, and runaways.
  • Dark Green is considered to be one of the main colours of the Legion.
  • The legion saw action in French Algeria and then later in Spain.

 

Thank you again and I look forward to your next book,

 

Brendan from Dublin

A

I’ve considered the first, but doubt I will send Sharpe to that war.  I’d rather leave him happily at home in Normandy.

 


Q

Have you considered an older Sharpe, training up a new company of rifles to fight in the Crimean war. Perhaps where his son and Paddy’s son etc. are part of the new regiment. This may spawn a new series of historic novels, and hopefully a TV series

Michael Belshaw

A

It's not likely....I'm afraid the Crimea War just doesn't hold much appeal for me.


Q

Dear Bernard

Have you ever heard of James Fitzgibbon, he was a self taught private soldier who joined in the ranks who became am officer with his own Commando style unit like a real life Sharpe  ?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_FitzGibbon

Geraint

A

Yes, I am aware of James Fitzgibbon and his 'Bloody Boys'.


Q

Have you ever considered writing about the early history of where you currently live?  It is quite interesting about those who came to Plymouth and then left to start new settlements.  The indigenous people also liked the English style and set up their own city to the North on Cape Cod.  I also want to thank you for the wonderful gifts you have given to us through your characters and books.  Thank you for giving life to the concepts, words, and deeds of these characters.  For some, they help "concretize" concepts, morals, and teachings in a way that they can digest and use.

Thank you, sir.

Darrick

A

I have not.  I do love the Cape, but the great advantage of the town where I live is its almost total absence of history. That may sound odd, but it’s extremely restful!


Q

Where does Sharpe's Command fit chronologically in the series? It's 1812, but when exactly in that year?

Luis Guadagnin

A

Between Sharpe's Company and Sharpe's Sword.


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

I love historical fiction (and non fiction) and you have become a favorite author. Uhtreds story is the first one I ever read, but I’ve read Sharpe and the series about the archer too. I also read the one about Shakespeare.

I have enjoyed The Last Kingdom on Netflix, but as it always happens, it falls short of the books. I was wondering if you have ever thought of having it made into an anime cartoon series? I could see the Japanese liking the story. It’s just an idea I had and I really think it might be very successful. For one thing, your characters can be illustrated or computer animated to be exactly as you made them. I think the Mad Bishop would be a wonderful cartoon character. The old animated Hobbit turned out better than that farce of a movie they put out a couple years ago. Anyway, thank you for your consideration and time and your wonderful stories.

Lindsey Wehr

 

A

I haven't, but I guess I should consider it?


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell.

I love all your books, and though my favorite is the Warlord trilogy I'm a great fan of Sharpe, and, fingers crossed, look forward to a tale about the battle of St Pierre d'Irube. I've read that you regret killing off Sergeant Hakeswill, yet the opportunity exists for him to feature in two more Sharpe adventures back in India. Prior to Sharpe arriving in Bombay five months before he departed India, he had the opportunity to fight in the Siege of Delhi and Battle of Deeg in 1804. It would be particularly interesting to read how a group of thugee would react to Hakeswill's scarred neck.

Best regards,

Tom O'Brennan.

A

Ah, you do tempt me, but will I yield to temptation? Not soon, that’s for sure, but thank you!


Q

Hi Bernard,

I’ve enjoyed your book since a young age, I used the watch Sharpe and I began reading the books shortly after as a teenager. I think I identified with Richard Sharpe as a Yorkshireman! I’d love to get chance to meet you and get a book signed. Any plans in 2022 for a UK Book Tour to go with your latest release in the Sharpe Series?

Kind regards,

Jordan

 

A

I think there's a good chance I'll be in the UK for a book tour this year.