Your Questions

Q

Mr. Cornwell,

I am currently reading my way through your Richard Sharpe novels chronologically and I am reading Sharpe's Regiment. Sharpe just saw Jane Gibbons. I remember in earlier novels, Sharpe mentioning her and had a locket of her and had met her sometime. Maybe I have forgotten, but in which book had he met her in? Anyway, I am really enjoying your novels.

I ran across a video of an interview you had in 2012, and you mentioned that you still were planning to write more Sharpe novels. Are you still going to write more? I hope so. Too bad you can't take suggestions for new stories because if you could I would have suggested the idea of a short story telling about when Sharpe joined the army.

Thank you once again for your books.

Burt Barnard

A

I believe their first meeting isn't in a book.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I'm an avid reader of your books.

Having spent most of my teens and twenties following Richards treks I am curious to know if you consider the series finished or there maybe one last adventure for the brave Richard Sharpe to tackle?

Many thanks for you time.

Phil Wright

 

I wish you could write some more Sharpe novels but this time including Sharpe or a similar character working a) with the King's German Legion; b) the reformation of the Portuguese Army; c) the Chasseurs Britanniques.

It also occurs to me that Rifles soldiers on deployment (and previously in Iraq and Afghanistan) enjoy the Sharpe films, they could do with some more; or new stories that are more current?

Victor Newman

A

Oh I think there maybe one or two more adventures for Sharpe...


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

having previously thoroughly enjoyed the Grail Quest series, I have just read the first (in chronological order) of the Sharpe series - Sharpe's Tiger. Love the way you bring the conflicting / contrasting personalities of the main and supporting characters to life in the exotic Indian subcontinent setting of 1799. Keen to read my way through the series over time. Found the reference to British officers of the era purchasing their commissions of interest. As officers couldn't officially profit from the spoils of battle (unlike the enlisted men), yet paid significant sums to secure their commissions, I wonder what the benefits of purchasing a commission were perceived be in the minds of British society at the time. Was it to complement / enhance their existing social standing as gentlemen / peers or were there other practical benefits accruing to the purchase of a commission?

Marc Radcliffe

A

There was a hidebound belief that the best officers were gentlemen, and the sale of commissions more or less guaranteed that only the wealthier could afford it. Mind you, under the exigencies of war, that system broke down and by the time of Waterloo a significant proportion of officers had been appointed outside the purchase system. And officers could (and did!) profit from the spoils – the prize money in India made many men wealthy (including Arthur Wellesley). The purchase system only worked up to a Majority, after that promotion was (officially) by seniority. It seems to us a daft system, and so it was, but Arthur Wellesley, for instance, purchased his way to his Majority, but when he was appointed commander of the forces in Portugal and thus embarked on the six years that would turn him into the Duke of Wellington, he was promoted over the heads of 200 other generals . . . . so the system did produce some brilliant officers and, plainly, was flexible.

 


Q

Hi Bernard.

I have avidly followed the story of Uhtred from the beginning and at last finally made it to visit Bamburgh/Bebbanburg. I know the fortress of your imagination may not be exactly that of the original Saxon stronghold (underneath the current buildings of course) but I was not able to fully reconcile some of your descriptions. In short, did you imagine the "Lower Gate" was located at the north of the outcrop ( where the Saxon "St.Oswald's" gate is believed to be) or on the southern section where the current main Gate is? I know you describe characters approaching the Lower Gate from the south but in my minds eye the various descriptions given of entering the Fortress best suit a northern entry.

Oh dear! I have just read that back to myself and it does sound a bit pedantic. I hope you forgive me if it does!!

I also notice you are coming to York. In an earlier comment to your website I recommended the book on Viking Age Yorkshire  by Matthew Townend. I just wondered if you ever managed to look it up.

Paul Stein

A

A northern entry? There appears to have been one at some point, but remember that in Saxon times the northern side was bordered by an inlet of the sea and the western side (where the playing fields are now) was a harbour!  The southern entry was always the main one

 

Thank you for that . . . I will look it up!


Q

Mr Bernard Cromwell

Do you ever have a specific person in mind when you are writing about a character? Do you ever plan to? Would that not make it easier? Do you have a favorite character?

Tyrah Drake

A

I don’t, and I’m not sure it would make it easier, at least for me. My favourite? Other than Sharpe, Uhtred and Derfel? Obadiah Hakeswill, of course.


Q

Greetings from Norway!

I'm a big fan, and hardcore goldbug, and I just have a quick question about a gold coin Nick Hood got as a gift from Marshal of France, Jean de Maingre, in your book Agincourt, page 267.

"It was gold, the size of a shilling, and he guessed it was worth a year's wages"

What coin is this, and how much gold did it contain?

Best regards,

Oddvar Stallemo.

A

I have no idea. Almost certainly I did some research when I wrote the book, but the problem of being an historical novelist is that I don’t need footnotes or endnotes so I save time by not copying out sources. I am sorry! But I guess I’m not going to change my ways now . . .



Q

Hi

I loved your book the burning land and after reading your historical note about a headstone you came across in Thundersley dated around the same time i thought i would visit it. I work at the local king john school and no locals have heard of it. Could you please let me know where it is?

Many thanks .

Jason

A

It was in Saint Peter’s churchyard


Q

Hi Bernard

Recently back in August I had discovered the Sharpe TV Series and I was very captivated by it and I also have a few of your Sharpe books. At the moment I reading two of them back to back Sharpe's Rifles and Sharpe's Havoc but while I was reading them I spotted something that has me slightly confused and that was that in Sharpe's Rifles on page 23 it said that Rifleman Cooper was killed by a sword stroke but then he seems to be alive and well in Sharpe's Havoc?

Hope to hear back from you.

From your fan in Scotland

Nicky

A

Was he killed or merely wounded?  Sorry, I don't remember!


Q

Hi, I am just wondering if you would have any considerations for King Offa. I just think that that would be an interesting topic to write about, but I don't know. Thanks for the great books.

Tom

A

Very interesting...but I'm not sure I'll ever get to everything I'd like to write about!