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  Bernard Cornwell, above, has sold an astonishing 30 million copies of his books worldwide. Right: The rough diamond officer made his debut in Sharpe’s Eagle back in 1981
Sharpe reprimands a ne’er-do-well soldier in the ITV show that ran from 1993 to 2008
 ‘ gun flints] that by 1800, they were the sole suppliers to the Board of Ordnance,” its website proudly boasts.
It continues: “The Battle of Waterloo is supposed to have been won on the playing fields of Eton. It can be claimed with equal justification that it was won in the flintyards of Brandon.”
Bernard, 77, no slouch in the research department, admitted he was unaware of the local link. “I’ve been a nerd about the Napoleonic Wars since I was a teenager so I feel fairly confident when I’m writing Sharpe, but there are still things you don’t know,” he says. “I’m very glad to learn it and I’ll try to put it in the next book.” When the festival took place, Bernard was five pages into chapter 10 of Sharpe’s Assassin, due to be published this autumn. “It picks up a day after Sharpe’s Waterloo finishes and is basically the story of Britain’s occupation of Paris. That’s all I can tell you at the moment – you’ll have to wait,” he teases.
“I’d always wanted to do another Sharpe as I’m very fond of him. He saw me through some lean years. The character lives in my head and I can
sometimes hear him grumbling when I’m out walking the dog!
“I used to joke that I’d write another
one when I retired. I’m certainly old enough, so maybe this is my retirement
project. The nice thing was the moment I started writing, he just sprang to life. It’s been a
Could the book lead to
another TV adaptation? “I have no idea,” Bernard admits. “I’ve heard murmurs, but I
never believe this stuff until I see it on screen. I would love it, but have no idea who would play him.”

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