Dear Mr Cornwell Since a young teenager I have been a great fan of C. S. Forester. I read and re-read many of his books, including Death To The French. Later I began reading, and re-reading, Sharpe. I have continued to do so with a great deal of pleasure, but I have often wondered whether some of your inspiration for Sharpe may have come from C. S. Forester’s novel. Two days ago I finished Sharpe’s Escape for the second time and I noticed newly promoted Rifleman Dodd disappearing down the hill to escape from the French and not returning. I have spent today wondering about that. It has been many years since I read Death To The French but I felt sure that the hero’s name was also Matthew Dodd – it’s been frustrating waiting for the day to end so that I could check. I am immensely pleased to find this is so, also that they both disappeared on the retreat to the lines of Torres Vedras. I hope this is not just a coincidence. With many thanks for hours of pleasure and entertainment. Yours sincerely, Titus Hackman