A fun exciting fast paced book. I first read it as a teen and became a Sharpe fan. Cornwell creates great heroes even better villains.
Bernhard Cronwell is an author of considerable skill --- historical fiction is his stock in trade. Some of his other novels have been set in medieval England --- one called Stonehenge, was set in pre-historic England.
This time the action takes place during the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the nineteenth century and set in Spain. Napoleon attacks the English in Spain who have come to help prop up the Spanish --- or at least help contain the French. Cronwell has written numerous (at least twenty) volumes that follow the adventures of Sharpe, Lieutenant of a small band of Riflemen. Sharpe is our lucky hero who cheats death at every turn and in this novel redeems the loss of his company’s colours by returning the favour to the French by stealing one of their eagles. Needless to say this is frought with danger.
The novel also features a plucky sidekick; bullying and incompetent commanding Officers; and as usual, blood, guts, gore and dead bodies so numerous they’re stacked like cordwood.
We continue with our education in military strategy; how war was waged during the early years of the nineteenth century and the technology of killing (bet you didn’t know where the term Schrapnel came from).
Just one word of warning --- Cornwell’s books, though gripping and entertaining, can, just judging from personal experience, become quite addictive.
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