Your Questions

Q

Did Hakeswill die in Sharpe's Siege? He turns up in some of the later novels how? Ps I asked you not long back about how I could get hold of the Sharpe video series in Australia your advice was very helpful and I am now the proud owner of the first two videos in the series. Looking forward to the new book. I hope it comes out in Australia soon. PPS I've read A great deal of historical fiction and yours is by far the best. Any more Starbucks on the way? Lee Brake

A

Hakeswill died in Sharpe's Enemy - daftest thing I ever did. He should have lived forever. No Starbuck just yet.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I have recently been reading Hannibal by Ross Leckie and I thought it was rubbish. It was so bad I was actually impressed by his ability to turn what is a fascinating real life story into boring uneventful dross. When I was reading it I kept thinking how much better it would have been if you had written it and with such a wealth of quality material would you consider writing about Hannibal as well? Amy Wilson

A

Hannibal? I'm not tempted by the Romans - or, by extension, the Carthaginians, so it's not likely, but never say never!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I have just enjoyed reading "Vagabond" - thank you. However a couple of little points of detail bother me. 1. The French assembly is now called "Parlement" not "Parliament". I wonder was that true in the time of Edward? 2. At the battle of Agincourt - iron tipped arrows were used. Was steel available to Edward's archers I wonder? You need not bother to respond to these trivial points - I just wanted to get them off my chest. I hate clever dicks as a rule! With kind regards, Tony Jones

A

Parlement would have been right, I just 'translated' it - dunno why. Yes, steel would have been available, but not as we know it - it was simply iron hardened by carbon, usually by laying the red hot iron directly on the glowing charcoal and letting it be 'contaminated' - the very first recorded use of the word steel is in Beowulf - the eighth century - and the OED gives frequent citations over the next 5 - 600 years, so steel was certainly available in mediaeval times and, by then, smiths were very expert in judging how to harden iron by adding carbon even if (as is probable) they weren't sure what chemical process was going on. It's not, of course, modern steel - but they called it steel and that's good enough, I think.


Q

Just a quick question concerning your impending Viking series. Can you divulge any information, and when will it be out? Owe Phillips

A

It isn't really a 'Viking series', more an Anglo-Saxon one, though the 'Vikings' feature very prominently (indeed we're with them for most of the first book) and they are, of course, the main danger to Alfred's Wessex. At the moment (this might change) the book is called The Last Kingdom and it will appear in the UK in October, and in the US? Don't know, but probably not till 2005.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I enjoy reading ALL your books and really like the way you take the King Arthur tales and twist em into brand new tales, casting a new image on history. I am very curious to know if there are any plans to make those books into a movie? When I was stationed in Wales, I remember hearing about an old monastary being renovated and the workers finding ancient transcripts written in Saxon and that it seemed to mention Arthur. Is this where you got the idea? Are you planning on writing anymore of the Starbuck chronicles? Being born in Texas, I'd like to read more about kickin' those dang Yankees butts. I'd also like to see how you are going to bring us readers from Sharpe to Starbuck through Sharpe's son. I take it that the Grail quest series is over? That is too bad, I really liked reading about that war, with the archers taking out the knights. I liked the way you brought the plague into it too. You ever think about writing about the French and Indian War 1756- 1766 in North America? Jim Cork

A

No plans for a movie based on the Warlord Chronicles at the moment. Alas no - your message is the first I've ever heard of the old monastary and the ancient transcripts! Starbuck and Thomas of Hookton are both on hold - at least for the moment. And I think about the French and IndianWar from time to time, but it's not a priority and certainly won't be done soon.


Q

Why did most of your references to knights say they were wearing mail when by 1340 most knights and men at arms were wearing at least a coat of plates? Also why did you focus on an archer instead of a knight or man at arms? Since, to my deep sadness you have scraped Warrior, would you mind telling me if Thomas kills Robbie? Please write a book on Agincourt and make sure Heny V is wearing a great helm which is historically correct. Sorry if my question is too long. Alex Verrall

A

Because most knights (men at arms) couldn't afford plate. That's why! The iconography of the period (tombs, illustrations, etc) shows a lot of plate, but that was commissioned by the wealthy so it shows them in their expensive armour, but the average man at arms had to be content with mail and, if he was lucky, some pieces of scrounged plate. Why an archer? Why not? He was a battle-winner, so has some interest. And does Thomas kill Robbie? Don't know - I might find out one day if I ever write the next book, and I think it likely I will write Agincourt eventually (I have all the research done) and I'll bear your message in mind! Thank you for it.


Q

Two quick questions, please: (1.) having written the later Sharpe books before the earlier, if you were, in fact, writing the later books now, are there things in those books that you would change?; and (2.) why does Sharpe hate lawyers so much? I'm a lawyer myself, and many, many lawyers shame the profession, but the scoundrels, really, are regular people. To borrow a phrase, "lawyers don't sue people; people sue people." Even in Lady Grace's estate, Sharpe should hate her family, not lawyers. Sometimes, in one's profession, it's necessary to do some things of which you may not end up particularly proud in order to best advance your client's (or King's) interests. Sharpe, of all people, should know that. Thanks for your time, response, and talents. Best wishes.

A

1) Do you mean are there things I would change in the first series? Yes - the references to things like Hakeswill being with Sharpe during the assault on Gawilghur, and when I came to write that book it was impossible to make that reference true. Maybe one day I'll smooth the whole series out - maybe. 2) Ho ho. All I shall offer you is Abraham Lincoln (who, as a lawyer, understood these things) - a single lawyer in a small town starves, two lawyers grow fat. I rest my case.


Q

Hello Bernard, how are you? I bought 'A Crowning Mercy' at our local book store. I find it interesting that when I went into your web site this book is not listed with your books. Is that because you wrote it with Susannah Kells, or is it an oversight on the makes of your web site?Thank You and have a nice day. P.S. I'm a big fan of your writing keep up the fantastic writing! Wayne LeBlanc

A

We had not listed the Susannah Kells books before because they did not have the name Bernard Cornwell on them. But now that's changed, so perhaps we should list the Kells books. It is something I will consider. Thanks for your message.


Q

I have copies of Sea Lord ISBN 0-7181-3323-4 and Killers Wake ISBN 0-399-13458-1 which are of the same text. and is Sharpe's Christmas #22 in reading order? Thanx Barry

A

Killers Wake is the title the American publisher gave to the book Sea Lord when it was published in the US. The publisher does have the right to change the title of a book, much to my dismay, as they did when they published Harlequin under the title The Archer's Tale in the US. I regret any inconvenience it may have caused you by buying the same book under two different titles. The short story book Sharpe's Christmas is not a numbered Sharpe book because the book contains two short stories that take place at different times. The first story is 'Sharpe's Christmas' and it takes place in 1813 towards the end of the Peninsular War (and would fall after Sharpe's Regiment). The second story is 'Sharpe's Ransom' and it takes place during peacetime, coming after Sharpe's Waterloo, and giving a glimpse of Sharpe's life with Lucille in France. The short story Sharpe's Skirmish is set in August, 1812 and falls after Sharpe's Sword.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, first I wanted to thank you for your books, every one I've read is wonderfully entertaining. More so, as a military officer, I admire the research and veracity that goes into your writings... your books are a far more entertaining way to study history then reading some dusty old book off a library shelf. The Warlord Chronicles had me hooked, particularly the view of Lancelot. I studied Le Morte D'Arthur back in high school, and never understood why Lancelot had grown to be such a hero in other writings/movies. Since the Warlord series I've torn through the Starbuck & most of the Sharpe novels and there's enough left on your booklist to keep me busy a long long time... Anyway, are there any brand new series in your future? If so, what's the historical setting? Finally, for the predictable question, who are some of your favorite authors? Mike

A

I am working on the first book of a new series about Alfred set in the early 9th century. I think the book will be called The Last Kingdom (although that could change) and should be published in the UK in October of this year. My favourite author is an obscure writer by the name of John Cowper Powys.