Saturday, 7 June 2014

One thing I admire in Bernard Cornwell’s novels is the way he is able to merge his fictitious characters – especially Richard Sharpe – into real events. And that’s what I have aimed to do in the second of my WW1 novels. In this case the background is the First Battle of Ypres, October 1914, and the real event is the 2nd Worcester Regiment’s counter-attack on Gheluvelt Chateau. It was a war-changing piece of bravery. With around 350 men, all he had left, Major Hankey launched his assault over one thousand yards of open ground. They lost one hundred men at that point, but the attack continued. Around one thousand German reservists panicked and fled from the scene, and a crucial breach in the British line was plugged. It’s the sort of action Richard Sharpe might have revelled in, had he been alive at that time. Instead, it was one of my fictitious protagonists who went forward with the Worcesters. The first draft of the novel is complete, and so is the first edit, but there is a lot more to do before the book is published.

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