I am amazed by Cornwell's writing. I am amazed by Cornwell's storytelling. I am amazed with the characters Cornwell has developed in this series. I saw the TV series several years ago before I read the books and I thought it was unlikely I'd ever read the books because the TV series was quite good. I'm an avid fiction reader and love a well written series but was out of anything I liked. On that basis I decided to read the first book in the series and was surprised to find that over the years the book series had been added to extensively since the TV series. I've read the entire series up to Sharpe's sword but this is my first review. Every book has been exceptional and Sharpe's Sword has meticulously accurate historical content woven into the breadth of this fictional character's story. Cornwell has a talent for taking the reader back to the time and place minus modern sensibilities but it is all done in a respectful way. I obviously didn't live in those times but I'm an avid historical fiction and history reader and Cornwell nails down the time and place vividly without beating the reader over the head with it. I highly recommend Sharpe's Sword and would suggest to you that this is hours of very inexpensive entertainment. I recommend you start with the first chronological book of the story, look it up online so you start where Sharpe's story begins, and not with the first book Cornwell wrote. Buy it!
This is one in a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell, all of which are awesome! I first learned of this author from an article featuring Stuart Varney amongst other famous people in Newsmax. The people were all asked what they were reading at the time and Stuart mentioned Sharpe's Tiger. This book is in the series and I couldn't put it down. Stuart Varney mentioned Sharpe's tiger, which was the first book. I think it best that if you are to read this series, you should do so in chronological order to get the most out of them. If you don't they will each stand alone, but you will miss some of the things about Richard Sharpe. All of these books are centered about the Campaigns of the British army in India, Denmark, England, the Trafalger straights, Spain, Portugal, & France in the early 1800's. The stories, though fictional, are centered about real campaigns and battles fought. Cornwell has a summary of the real history at the end of each book which tell the real story. I must say I am addicted to all of them!
Here is a chronological reading order for the series: Sharpe’s Tiger Sharpe’s Triumph Sharpe’s Fortress Sharpe’s Trafalgar Sharpe’s Prey Sharpe’s Rifles Sharpe’s Havoc Sharpe’s Eagle Sharpe’s Gold Sharpe’s Escape Sharpe’s Fury Sharpe’s Battle Sharpe’s Company Sharpe’s Sword Sharpe’s Enemy Sharpe’s Honor Sharpe’s Regiment Sharpe’s Siege Sharpe’s Revenge Sharpe’s Devil Waterloo (Sharpe)
The whole series is available on Kindle. I do wish they would make the whole series available on one download in chronological order.
There are only a handful of novelists who can describe a battle and keep it from sound like a mish-mash. The center of this book is the Battle of Salamanca. For those who have come over from the TV series this will be a revelation. The BBC TV series did not have much of a budget. That wasn't a limitation for the first few stories when Sharpe had been just promoted from a sergeant to an ensign. He had basically a squad under his command. But in the novel's he keeps getting promoted. In the previous book it was 'Sharpe's Company'. That means he was a captain who commanded a company. Here he is still a captain. This means that he still has rifles under his command but in the British Army at this time riflemen were skirmishers. That is to say they were irregular troops who went out before the main troops to scout and disrupt the enemy formations. There would only be a few skirmishers. Most of a Captain's troops would not have a rifle and would not be wear a green uniform. Most would be regular red coats who would stand in rank and file as part of a larger formation.
This only gets worse when Sharpe advances up the ranks. I think he becomes a major in the next novel.
The TV series can't show a full scale Napoleonic battlefield. They probably only have twenty cast members in total. But in the novels there is no such limitation. As I said before Cornwell is adept at describing a battlefield with thousands of actors moving at once. It would be nice if someone might make a full length feature film of these novels. They really do cry out for a cast of thousands.
This particular edition of the novel is terrible. This goes for all the novels in this printing. The print is about 9 pts., if that. The other edition is out of print. If the novels you want are in this edition, forget it. Buy the ebooks instead. I love all the Sharpe novels, but beware this particular publishing house: unless you can read print finer than fine print ....
I have been reading the Sharpe series "mostly in order". Sharpe's Sword, to my taste, was the best so far. Cornwell had really matured as a writer by this time. I would not have expected a description of a near-fatal wound and its effects on a character we absolutely KNOW is going to survive to be so riveting and stirring. As always, Cornwell's closing historical note is like dessert after a fine meal, or perhaps more correctly like the moment where a magician steps back to reveal his secrets -- and you're left more in awe than ever, wondering, "How does he do it?" I keep lists of the 20 to 40 books I read each year (anal, eh?), and this is the first in years I've given a full 5 stars. (I even forgive Mr. Cornwell now for the only regrettable book in the series so far, "Sharpe's Battle".) Highly recommended.