Your Questions

Q

I have read every book you have written at least twice. Have you considered a book about the Charge of the light brigade?

Les Rayburn

A

I have not, and probably won’t. For some reason I can’t find great interest in the Crimean War, though I did once stand on the heights above the valley where the Light Brigade charged.

 


Q

Hi,

Thank you so much for your books.  I have enjoyed reading and re-reading them - the stories and the historical details.

There's one small detail that has bugged me and I have meant to ask for some time.

In the Arthur books, buildings are constructed by using whole-tree posts upside down so they didn't rot so quickly.  It sounds strangely plausible, but I have never seen that anywhere else.  I wouldn't have noticed had you not described the process repeatedly in detail.

I was wondering if this was based on archeological evidence from the time or if it was one of your own details?  Fabulous detail either way, although I'd love it to be a lesser known real fact of course!

Kind regards

David

A

I discovered that from an archaeological report – long ago and I’ve long forgotten which one.  It makes sense though!


Q

Hi Bernard,

About 15 years ago in a camp site in France, I picked up the first of the Saxon series as a complete last resort figuring it was the best of a poor lot in the campsite library. Then found I could not put it down and I've read nearly all your books since, many several times. They're a bit addictive when you get into them. A question....can you say yet roughly where the next Sharpe book will fit into the series?

Willie

 

Well -  I read (listened) to all 21 of the Sharpe books in the last 6 months or so.  I'm sad they are over!  Had previously read the Arthur and Grail Quest books.

Needless to say - I'm a big fan.  Rupert Farley did a fantastic job reading the Sharpe series on the platform I subscribe to.

I'd read you'll likely do another Sharpe book at some point - my question is:  Will it be set after Sharpe's Devil - or will you slide it in along the way somewhere?

Thanks!

Brad H

 

Dear Mr Cornwell,

First I absolutely love the Sharpe books. The descriptions of everything really makes you feel you are there and makes it difficult to put the books down. One of the beauties of them is that they are written around actual battles and teach some of the history of the era.

Both my father and grand father were riflemen in the KRR. My Grandfather in the ninth brigade on the Somme in 1916 ( where won the MM ) and my father in the 10th brigade in the second WW.

Hence my fascination with rifleman Sharpe, the Napoleonic wars and flintlock firearms.

In fact I have my own flintlock pistol which I enjoy shooting at my local club. The kick is something to experience and the flame smoke and noise doesn’t even scratch the scratch as to what it was like on a Napoleonic battle field.

Having read and reread the books and about to start the latest my question is, Will there be any more Sharpe books slotted into the originals. There must be many battles he could have fought in.

Thank you for your time.

I will live in hope.

Yours

Clive Grievson.

 

A

The next Sharpe book - likely to be called Sharpe's Command will slot between Company and Sword.


Q

Hello Bernard! I hope you're doing well. I wanted to ask you a question about Ragnar (Uhtred's adopted father). Would Ragnar have been saddened to see Uhtred and Brida become bitter enemies? Especially because he had once intended for them to be married.

Best regards,

Joshua from Ohio.

A

I’m sure he would have been disappointed, and consoled himself that fate is inexorable and sometimes sad.

 


Q

Something that always intrigued me was the reason why Guinevere betrayed Arthur in such a way, in Warlord Chronicles.

I understand why she would sleep with Lancelot and I understand why he would want to sleep with such a beautiful woman, but I don't understand why she would ever sleep with Dinas and Lavaine as well. Especially because they did not believe in Isis, or did they?

Daniel

A

Oh Lord above, I wrote those books so long ago that I didn’t even recognise the names Dinas and Lavaine, which means I have no idea why she slept with them (separately or a threesome?). I can only presume that she was a lascivious young lady and I hope she had a good time!

 


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I'm writing to you from Germany just to tell you, what a great Story you've been telling over the years. Starting in 2004, the first part was published here in 2007, guess i followed it since then or maybe 2008.

What was it, that made this story to be more than just another viking story? Well, i call it the speed. It was the undertone, the story was told in every single part. It began with the tone of an old man and his first memories of childhood were fury and fast, just as childhood can be. Followed by the tone of a young man (testosterone heavy) in the next parts and going on. Uhtred getting older, getting settled, getting self-assured. I never found this anywhere else. Great thing, thank you, Mr. Cornwell.

Well, just finishing the last part in 2021, i recognised on tv, that in Bamburgh castle there was found an old sword dating back to the 7th century. Found by Brian Hope- Taylor in 1960 and refound after his death in 2001. Well, this sword is unic but it was never mentioned in the saxon series. Wasn't it? I guess, news about it were published after the series was out. What i really would like to know from you: How does this feel?

I mean, imagine someone getting this story on paper. The many strong and wild characters, the places, the weapons... Serpentbreath... Negotiations with publishers, the initial release and then you realise, there was a sword buried in that castle and it was not any sword, it was made of six strings, not four, a sensation of that time and of our time, it isn't older than Serpentbreath could have been but so outstanding, that anybody must ask: "How come, that Uhtred doesn't knew??", it has found no place in that story..... I'm not mocking at you, please don't get me wrong. That's what i felt. How was it to you? Did you felt like it is in a way ironic?

 

All the best, stay healthy

Ulrich

 

A

I was simply delighted that the sword was found, and that it was a pattern-welded blade like Serpent-Breath. I didn’t feel any need to put it in the books – there must have been scores of such blades in Bebbanburg and it could have been any one of them. The only ‘weapon’ that exists and is in the books is the small knife (not much of a weapon!) that Uhtred misplaced at Bebbanburg, which I mentioned solely because the archaeologists exploring the battlefield were kind enough to give me a small knife discovered there!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell

Many thanks for writing the latest Sharpe book – ‘Sharpe’s Assassin’ that I have just enjoyed reading.

I hope that you don’t mind but there is something that I would like to draw to your attention. You refer to the possibility of a guillotine being used at some point in Halifax, West Yorkshire, long before it’s alleged invention by that fiendish Frenchman. This is absolutely true and the device still exists in reconstructed form on its original site in Halifax to this day.

The reason that most people fail to identify this machine and its location is that it is referred to as the ‘Halifax Gibbet’, located on Gibbet Street just outside the town centre. The execution machine was installed in the 13th century to execute thieves who, by the scale of their activities, were endangering the developing textile industry and therefore the king’s revenue through taxation. The last execution was recorded in 1650 but at some point they must have got a bit carried away as the rate of execution apparently gave rise to the old Northern English prayer – ‘From Hell, Hull and Halifax good lord preserve us’. Not sure quite what Hull did to deserve inclusion but there you go.

Something I found fascinating is the fact that the peg that restrained the blade prior to its descent was apparently attached by a cord to any convenient farm animal (executions were carried out on market days) that when driven off released the blade to execute the criminal leaving no human to blame or, presumably, to bear the brunt of any criminal reprisals.

Interestingly the original blade from the gibbet, that resembles a rather large axe head, is preserved in the Bankfield museum in Halifax. Among other fascinating exhibits this excellent museum also displays the history of the Havercake regiment from its beginnings in 1702 as the Earl of Huntingdon's Regiment of Foot to its demise, when it was amalgamated with the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and The Green Howards to form the Yorkshire Regiment on 6 June 2009 providing another Sharpe connection.

Please keep up the good work and continue to provide my wife and I with meaningful reading material.

Yours sincerely

R. W. Duckworth

 

A

Thank you for that!  I was astonished to discover that Yorkshire led the French by some centuries in inventing the guillotine, but in fact it was used in other parts of Europe long before the French made it infamous. Thank you too for drawing attention to the Bankfield Museum, which I’ve never visited, but will!

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I have always loved how the Uhtred books explore  the juxtoposition of Christianity and older Pagan (for want of a better word) beliefs. Have you ever considered a book about Penda of Mercia? As "the last pagan king in england" I've always been fascinated by his (barely recorded) story. A Pagan Angle allied with the Waelisc and bearing a brythonnic name raises all sorts of possibilities!

Dave Crook

A

I never have considered it, but you’re right – it does raise all kinds of possibililities, so consider it being considered now – but no promises!

 


Q

Must say I really enjoy your Sharps books! But I really hope you will consider to let Starbuck march again! I am a big fan of historical novel. And have to admit compare to the european battlefield the american military NP from the civil war is better preserved, easy to understand and more enjoyable. I have visit a lot of them, and when I visit Antietam, it was very helpful to have «The Bloody Ground» fresh in mind. In the same book on the last sentence you wrote: «Lee had been rebuffed at Antietam, but he was far from beaten. Starbuck will march again» This is in 1862, and the war ended in 1865. There is a gap of 3 years to fill. With your magnificent talent to historical novel I hope you will let those final word be materialize!….So will there be more Starbucks?…if not why?

Best regards

Odd Magnar Tjensvoll - Norway

A

I haven’t totally written off the thought of another Starbuck book.  I suspect I’m simply happier in the company of Sharpe.


Q

Just finished Sharpe's Assassin and was as pleased by the experience as I've always been by all of your books!

I've read that you have declared the Saxon Chronicles complete and this one seems like  a wrap-up as well.  If indeed you are aiming at retirement, I can only say "Well done and happy travels!"  If you aren't, I'll always be ready to read anything you produce.  I can honestly say that seeing a new book with your name on it has always felt a good bit like Christmas to me.

Best wishes!

Jim Peale

 

A

Thank you - but I'm actually writing another Sharpe book right now!