International best-selling author Bernard Cornwell, an undisputed master of historical fiction, is in top form for the 20th novel in his wildly popular Richard Sharpe series. In the year 1810 Napoleon is determined to conquer Portugal. But Captain Richard Sharpe leads the French directly into the Duke of Wellington’s devastating defenses at Torres Vedras, where one of the great battles of the Napoleonic wars erupts.
©2004 Bernard Cornwell (P)2004 Recorded Books
Before James Bond, there was Richard Sharpe. Fighting the King's enemies. Dashing about getting himself into trouble, then pulling out the miraculous escape. And always getting the beautiful girl into his bed. That is our Richard Sharpe.
Bernard Cornwell knows how to write great stories. Yes, they tend to be formulaic, but I love these stories for their sheer bloody enjoyment. The author does an excellent job of building in the actions, patterns, and personalities of the time (as I understand them to be). He also educates you into the military thoughts and concepts of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars in Spain, Portugal, and France. And if the French leaders were are narcissistic as Cornwell suggests, I wonder how they won any battles at all.
The only complaint I have is Patrick Tull as the narrator. I much prefer these stories read by William Gaminara or Frederick Davidson, Tull is not bad and I got used to his accent as the book progressed, but Gaminara and Davidson are better. Personal preference there.
If you like British military history in general, and the Napoleonic Wars in particular, then you will enjoy the Sharpe novels.
Great book and great performance. Definitely listen to this book. I think the other copy may have the historical note at the end though. This one did not. I don't know for sure if there is one, but the Author usually includes one and it's not at the end of this copy of the book.
To me, Tull's voice and acting skills make the story come alive. Here is no artificially polished public speaker, sounding like a politician or a preacher. Here is a genuine story teller from the past, one who speaks as though he has a rapt audience at his feet on a dark and windy night, room lights off, and a fire crackling. I find it easy to get completely into the narrative, and to live the story myself. Tull's is a rare skill with the spoken word. The Sharpe books are perfect for this style of storytelling, and Sharpe's Escape was a wonderful listen. I have several of the Sharpe books now, selected based on Tull as the narrator.
Sharpe, of course. His character is, while heroic, very realistic. He gets away with a lot of risky moves, but it's believable when he does. Bernard Cornwell's stories appeal strongly to me, and the Sharpe character and stories are great creations.
I have all the Aubrey/Maturin books from Patrick O'Brian, and I purposely chose Tull as the narrator. If I am undecided about buying a book, Tull as the narrator will swing the decision, and I'll buy it.
It's hard to pick one because Patrick Tull brings them all to life, and each is as enjoyable as any other. Let me just say the all the supporting characters are as carefully drawn and involved in the plot as is the main character, Sharpe. I would favorably compare the Sharpe stories to the Aubrey/Maturin stories, except, for the most part, they're land based.
I will buy all the Sharpe books narrated by Patrick Tull first, then (because I enjoy the stories and characters so thoroughly) I'll see if I can get into books from other narrators. It can be difficult to switch narrators when you respond so completely to their storytelling style.
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