Your Questions

Q

I`ve been introduced to the Holy Grail trilogy by our younger son and I`ve enjoyed every one. Now I plan to read the Arthurian series. I note in your Bulletin answers that you have taken names from many sources, including Ancient Welsh. "Ceinwyn" is presumably the name of a woman? I ask because "Wyn" usually refers to a man; "wen" to a woman and I have known many "Ceinwen"`s (female) and several "Ceinwyn! (male). I would be interested in learning that the suffix "wyn" used to be a feminine suffix. This is NOT a complaint! Maureen

A

I don't mind if it is a complaint - I copied the name from a source - the old tale of Arthur going to marry her, then standing her up, so unless he was a proto-Massachusetts resident then that Ceinwyn was definitely female! And I blame the book I copied it from. Or perhaps her parents couldn't spell? Or were confused? Or wished she were a boy? So many explanations . . .


Q

I have a few questions that you can hopefully help me with: 1. "knuckled his forehead"; you mention this several times in your books but I am not familiar with it. Is it a salute? how do you do a knuckle salute? 2. Sharpe is obviously fiction but how uncommon is he? do you have any idea how many people would have risen that far that fast as sticky as they were about common people moving in officer's circles? 3. if you had your back to the action (ie cannon fire) would you have held that position all day, even after moving the square or reforming lines and squares. 4. your books (I have them all but haven't read them all yet) don't mention the fascinating perspective of the black cymbal players. Were there any black soldiers that were not musicians; or any black musicians that were not cymbal players? where would they come from? thanks for all your writing. mark

A

'Knuckled his forehead' - You touch your knuckles to your forehead - it was very common. By the time of Waterloo about 7% of the officers in Britain's Army were up from the ranks, so it was not that uncommon. 'If you had your back to the action (ie cannon fire) would you have held that position all day, even after moving the square or reforming lines and squares' - I doubt it! The books don't specifically mention cymbal players, or black drummers, and they were fairly common. The most famous was captured by the French, managed to escape, somehow retrieved his bass drum and beat his own way back to the Army. Where did they come from? Mostly escaped slaves, or men who had been ships' crews (there were a lot of black guys in the Navy) and a few (very few) would have come from the small black communities in Britain's ports.


Q

Hi again, Mr. Cornwell. I have a two-part question for you: 1) Do you know, in your own secret mind, who Sharpe's father is? 2) Do you ever plan to tell us? Sincerely, Alan Kempner

A

1) yes

2) no


Q

I have just finished the Arthur Chronicles, and loved them. But I was wondering how Defel went from the beach to a monk? I guess what I'm asking is will there be a book about Derfel's life after Arthur and before he becomes a monk? Yours faithfully, Brett

A

He went reluctantly, I imagine, but he had made the promise and so it had to be kept. I do not have plans for any other Arthur (or Derfel) books.


Q

Dear Sir, I am a librarian and am frequently asked questions regarding authors pseudonymes. Recently the relationship between yourself and Susannah Kells has arisen. One reference book says that she is you as it were,and yet a recent work of fiction says that SK is your wife Judy. Could you please clear this up before serious money changes hands! As a supplementary my I ask if your wife is the author/actress Judy Cornwell? Thank you for your time, and keep the books coming, they are very popular in this part of Devon, Graham Keates.

I was wondering if you could clear up a few things in regards to all the books that you have written. I know of everything featured in this web site but what about the books under the name Susannah Kells, I can see you are releasing three of these, are there anymore coming? Are these books linked up to each other and did you write them with your wife. Also are there anymore books available apart from these? Sorry for all the questions but I am keen to read everything you have written. Kind regards Chris Pollock.

Dear Bernard, i have just read A Crowning Mercy, and it is without doubt one of your finest novels in my opinion. I wonder if you could tell me the names of the other books that you wrote under a pseudonym so I can quickly buy and read them before I have to start revising for my forthcoming exams. Thanks for many happy reading hours. Neil

A

My wife (a yoga teacher, not the actress) and I co-wrote the books published under the name Susannah Kells. There are three books - A Crowning Mercy, Fallen Angels and Coat of Arms (called The Aristocrats when it was published in the US). The books are not actually a series, although two of them contain characters from the same family.


Q

Why is the Warlord chronicles your favourite series? I know it's a stupid question but I was just curious-Justin

A

Because they were so enjoyable to write - nothing else.


Q

Dear Bernard, I was introduced to your excellent novels by my son who absolutely loves History and is now reading for a History degree. I hated History at school but he's swept me along with his enthusiasm and I now can't get enough of it and now read nothing but historical novels. They're mostly yours but I also enjoy Edward Rutherford and Elizabeth Chadwick. However, back to your goodself - we are both Essex lads and proud of it so are highly chuffed to know that you spent your formative years in our highly underated county. I like to see the odd references to Chelmsford in the Sharpe books which brings us finally to the question! In Sharpe's Regiment did you have anywhere in mind for the location of the South Essex Depot? If you had I'm sure you would have mentioned it but I can't help thinking that Hylands would have fitted the bill perfectly. Do you agree? Finally, please conclude the Starbuck chronicles! I'm fascinated to learn how, having placed your hero on the "wrong" side, you're going to have him emerge with some glory at the end of the hostilities. Many, many thanks for all the pleasure you have given. Richard (and Russell) Hobart

Dear Bernard, Further to my missive of yesterday regarding the location of the South Essex Depot near Chelmsford, I've now consulted my copy of Sharpe's Regiment and it can't be Hylands as that's west of Chelmsford and, of course, you (or rather the parson!) tells us that the depot is east of Chelmsford. That means it has to be Danbury, where there are the remains of a Napoleonic Redoubt (maintained by the National Trust). Danbury Palace is not far away so I guess that's where the depot was! The redoubt, as you probably know, is superbly situated giving a wonderful view across the Crouch valley to the Thames estuary. In Sharpe's day the bridges across the Crouch at South Woodham Ferrers and North Fambridge would have still been intact so a march down to Foulness would not have been that arduous. Regards Richard Hobart

A

I know Danbury very well, as my first serious girlfriend came from there, and I still recall her fondly. Danbury it is!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I'd just like to say first of all how much enjoyment your books have given me. You are my favourite author even better than Colleen McCullough and Dorothy Dunnett who I love for historical novels but also even better than Magaret Weis and Tracy Hickman who used to be my fave authors (I usually prefer Fantasy). I have read all the Sharpe books apart from "Devil", "Havoc" and of course "Escape" and the Warlord Chronicles and Harlequin (I agree your title is MUCH better) but I was delighted to find out how many books you had written as that will keep me in regular fixes for a while. Ok enough hero worshipping :-) My question is; in your site you don't mention "A Crowning Mercy" or "Fallen Angels". I was wondering why not. Also both of these books mention a character called Campion but they are set fairly far apart, one in the mid 17th century and the other after the French Revolution. I'm getting this information from Amazon as I haven't read either of them (serious lack of funds) so if the information is wrong, you know where to point the finger. Are these books in a series? Yours very faithfully Helena Hyatt oh oh PS what is Medeval Book 1 about :-) I guess you can't say much but did you know that Amazon is taking (and getting) pre-orders on a book they're listing without a title or a synopsis apart from "The fourth book to feature hero Thomas of Hookton. " THATS when you know you have a devoted fan base.

A

A Crowning Mercy and Fallen Angels are not listed because the books were published under another name and the website is Bernard Cornwell, though I suppose we should consider putting them on now., They're not a series, not really - though the two characters are from the same family. There is not a fourth book to feature Thomas of Hookton at this time.


Q

I am reading "Excaliber" at the moment. I read Morris books are well. I noticed, that in your point of view, Sir Lancelot appears to be a coward, traitor, and all bad things. But in other King Arthur legends, they are saying Lancelot is a greatful, wonderful knight. I was wondering, where did you get the idea of Lancelot being a "bad" knight ? (I enjoyed your Sharpe's series, Starbuck, Holy Grail, Redcoat, Stonehenge, and etc.) I enjoyed reading the short stories. Alex

A

I fear from my own imagination, nowhere else. He has always bored me.


Q

Dear Master, I love your books. I became a huge fan of yours about five years ago when I discovered the Sharpe series on tapes at my local library. Mr Gemminara? does such a great job reading your books. I agree with all of your readers who consider the Warlord series your finest. I just finished The Archer's Tale a I am starting Vagabond tonight. I hope I will get some sleep tonight. My only regret is, that you killed the son of the King of Bohemia in the last battle. Who will now become the Emperor Charles IV in his place? Who will be called the Father of Our Homeland by generations of Czechs? I would like to know if you have any time left for your own reading of fiction? Who are your favorite writers? Thank you for your great stories. Pavel Sebek, St. Louis, Missouri

A

Oops. Sorry. I know. Resurrection? I don't have lots of time to read fiction, but I do enjoy George McDonald Fraser, John Sandford, Dennis Lehane, John Connolly, plus many others.