Bernard Cornwell has been writing historical fiction for a long time. How could he have escaped our notice? As those who follow his work enthusiastically already know, his specialty is historical fiction. And although some of his novels have been set during the Viking period and during the middle ages his most prolific works are set during the Napoleonic Wars. While his works are most certainly fictional, many have a strong historical basis. Most of his battles took place much as they are described. Many of his characters draw on real life flesh and blood historical figures.
In addition to being highly addictive his novels also encourage further investigation into the events and personages involved in his novels.
In this novel, Sharpe’s Sword, set during the Salamanca campaigns of the summer of 1812 pursues a shady French agent by the name of Leroux who is attempting to roll up a British spy ring that provides Wellington and the British with firsat rate intelligence from across Europe.
During this noel, Sharpe is given up for being virtually dead. Only after extensive searching across the battlefield, amongst the dead and wounded, only after plumbing the depths lof mass graves is Sharpe found, near dead, in a soldiers death ward.
In a novel peopled with many interesting, one of the most engaging is La Marquesa. Rich, beautiful, Spanish and titled, she takes up an affair with Sharpe --- Sharpe fall under her spell. But in a double cross, the Marquesa loves and lusts after Sharpe less for how he warms her bed but more for the information she can extract from him.
As the novel reaches its conclusion the affair reaches its inevitable conclusion; Sharpe catches his agent; Leroux, the agent is “terminated with extreme prejudice”; and all live happily ever after (or at least till the next novel.
Read this book for the insight into military strategy of; read this book for the arms and warring technology of the period; read this book for the suspense; read this book for the double crosses; read this book.
And read this book even if some would have you think its is the junk food of literature --- and maybe so. But remember that life lived on a steads diet of health food fare would be mighty boring --- every once in a wide we need a twinky.
I think of the Sharpe books as literary junk food. There not terribly deep but they're oh so fun. I usually get hooked and read them through in 1-2 days. This is another one of my favourites.
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