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About the Author: Bernard Cornwell

Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden name, Cornwell.

Cornwell was sent away to Monkton Combe School, attended the University of London, and after graduating, worked as a teacher. He attempted to enlist in the British armed services at least three times but was rejected on the grounds of myopia.

He then joined BBC's Nationwide and was promoted to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland. He then joined Thames Television as editor of Thames News. He relocated to the United States in 1980 after marrying an American. Unable to get a green card, he started writing novels, as this did not require a work permit.

As a child, Cornwell loved the novels of C.S. Forester, chronicling the adventures of fictional British naval officer Horatio Hornblower during the Napoleonic Wars, and was surprised to find there were no such novels following Lord Wellington's campaign on land. Motivated by the need to support himself in the U.S. through writing, Cornwell decided to write such a series. He named his chief protagonist Richard Sharpe, a rifleman involved in most major battles of the Peninsular War.

Cornwell wanted to start the series with the Siege of Badajoz but decided instead to start with a couple of "warm-up" novels. These were Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold, both published in 1981. Sharpe's Eagle was picked up by a publisher, and Cornwell got a three-book deal. He went on to tell the story of Badajoz in his third Sharpe novel, Sharpe's Company, published in 1982.

Cornwell and wife Judy co-wrote a series of novels, published under the pseudonym "Susannah Kells". These were A Crowning Mercy, published in 1983, Fallen Angels in 1984, and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats) in 1986. (Cornwell's strict Protestant upbringing informed the background of A Crowning Mercy, which took place during the English Civil War.) In 1987, he also published Redcoat, an American Revolutionary War novel set in Philadelphia during its 1777 occupation by the British.

After publishing eight books in his ongoing Sharpe series, Cornwell was approached by a production company interested in adapting them for television. The producers asked him to write a prequel to give them a starting point to the series. They also requested that the story feature a large role for Spanish characters to secure co-funding from Spain. The result was Sharpe’s Rifles, published in 1987, and a series of Sharpe television films staring Sean Bean.

A series of contemporary thrillers with sailing as a background and common themes followed: Wildtrack published in 1988, Sea Lord (aka Killer's Wake) in 1989, Crackdown in 1990, Stormchild in 1991, and Scoundrel, a political thriller, in 1992.

In June 2006, Cornwell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours List.

Cornwell's latest work, Azincourt, was released in the UK in October 2008. The protagonist is an archer who participates in the Battle of Agincourt, another devastating defeat suffered by the French in the Hundred Years War. However, Cornwell has stated that it will not be about Thomas of Hookton from The Grail Quest or any of his relatives.

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The Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803 by

Goodreads rating: 4.10

Paperback, Published in Sep 2011 by Harper

ISBN10: 0007425813 | ISBN13: 9780007425815

Page count: 384

Britain's number one bestselling novelist is back! Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Fortress, the stunning successor to Sharpe's Tiger and Sharpe's Triumph marks Richard Sharpe's explosive, unforgettable, final adventure in India.

Surviving the infamous battle of Assaye, Richard Sharpe has been promoted for his gallantry and skill assisting Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, in overcoming the rebellious Mahratta confederation. But though the war with the Mahratta seems near its end, Sharpe, now an officer in Wellesley's army, faces a battle of a different kind among his own ranks. Uncomfortable with his newfound authority and unwelcoming colleagues, Sharpe is relegated to the tedium of baggage duty.

But his fury and uncertainty are soon overcome when he catches wind of a treasonous scheme devised by none other than his oldest and worst enemy, Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. His life hanging in the balance and no friend to turn to, Sharpe has little choice but to take up arms and seek revenge in a desperate attempt to thwart his old nemesis and regain his stolen treasure, the jewels of the Tippoo Sultan.

Sharpe's private campaign leads him to the legendary impenetrable fortress in the sky, Gawilghur, the last refuge for desperate enemies of all dark stripes, including the renegade Englishman William Dodd. Joining Wellesley's army as it prepares to lay siege to this fortress high above the Deccan Plain, Sharpe will risk his honor, reputation, and fortune on a battle that will test him as never before.

Sharpe's Fortress caps this unforgettable soldier's India trilogy and leaves him poised to return to Europe, where he willface new, even more evil and lethal enemies.

Bernard Cornwell's masterful characters and sweeping historical novels provide "a marvelous mixture of fact and fiction" that are "characterized by . . . immaculate historical reconstruction and the ability to tell a ripping yarn." For adventure fans everywhere, they are not to be missed.

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