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Publisher's Summary

It is 1810, and in Napoleon's determination to conquer Portugal, and push the British back to the sea, he sends his largest army yet across the Spanish frontier. But between the Portuguese border and Napoleon's seemingly certain victory are two obstacles; a wasted land, stripped of food by Wellington's orders, and Captain Richard Sharpe.

But Sharpe is in trouble. The captain of the Light Company is threatened from inside and out: first by an incompetent British officer, who by virtue of family connections is temporarily given Sharpe's command. An even greater danger is posed by two corrupt Portuguese brothers, Major Ferreira, a high-ranking officer in the army of Portugal, and his brother, nicknamed "Ferragus" (after a legendary Portuguese giant), who prefer to rule by crude physical strength and pure intimidation. Together the brothers have developed a devious plot to ingratiate themselves with the French invaders who are threatening to become Portugal's new rulers.

Sharpe's interference in the first stage of their plan earns the undying enmity of the brothers. Ferragus vows revenge and plots a merciless trap that seems certain to kill Sharpe and his intimates. As the city of Coimbra is burned and pillaged, Sharpe and his companions plot a daring escape, ensuring that Ferragus will follow on toward Lisbon, into the jaws of a snare laid by Wellington that is meant to be a daring and ingenious last stand against the invaders. There, beneath the British guns, Sharpe is reunited with his shattered but grateful company, and meets his enemies in a thrilling and decisive fight.

Don't forget to check out the rest of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series.

Don't miss the rest of Bernard Cornwell's literary masterpieces.

©2004 Bernard Cornwell (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Another thrilling adventure." (Booklist)
"With fully fleshed-out characters and keen human insight, Cornwell just keeps getting better." (Publishers Weekly)
"Adroitly capturing character, Patrick Tull sounds like a grizzled, gin-soaked foot soldier who saw it all firsthand and who enjoys nothing more than telling war stories." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Can't stand Tull

Loved the book but hated the reader. I've listened to most of the Sharpe series and skipped this one until now, but I will not listen to Tull again. It sounds like the narrator is constantly spitting and gasping for breath. The spitting sounds are very distracting, bet he buys microphones by the gross.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Tull's narration

There are currently 2 primary narrators for the Sharp series, Davidson and Gaminara. Although I strongly prefer Davidson's characterization of Sharp's personality, Gaminara is different but a similar character comes through. For some obscure reason, P. Tull is the only narrator for Book X. Tull totally loses the character, slurs his presentation and makes all characters sound like old men who are simply incoherent. I really cannot follow the story and would suggest skipping Book X rather than suffering through Tull's presentation. It is only Cornwell's wonderful writing that keeps me listening to this book.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • victoria
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 07-10-07

Thumbs down on Tull

I couldn't even finish this one -- the narrator just didn't take me to Portugal or help me to care about the characters. His depiction lacks the clarity and character definition that I've come to depend on from David Case/Frederick Davidson (try his Forsyte Saga, or Bleak House and other Dickens). I'm guessing the book itself is up to the author's usual high standards of vivid and exciting story-telling. But it's too hard getting there! Will perhaps come back when I've finished the rest.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Please Bring Back Frederick Davidson!!

This being my first opportunity to hear Mr. Tull as a reader, in my opinion, Frederick Davidson is much superior for this particular series. Mr. Frederickson style denotes a sense of the true rogue, which is what Richard Sharpe's character is all about, while, Mr. Tull's style, while worthy; seems almost bland and unclear by comparison. Is he is eating a banana while reading? It seems so at times. I started then stopped listening to this book several times before I could finally bring myself to complete it. I would recommend any first time listeners of the Sharpes Series to listen to Mr. Davidson's rendition first, then Tull's as a last resort. The story itself is classic Sharpe. Enough said.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jesse
  • Saanichton, BC, Canada
  • 04-03-07

Classic Cornwell, Terrible Tull

This is my first audiobook review after several years and hundreds of downloads. I have listened to a lot of books by a lot of readers but have to say that while I'm a HUGE fan of the Sharpe Novels I absolutely can NOT stand Tull as the reader. Like others have noted it sounds like he has his mouth full or a serious speaking disorder. It's both aggravating and distracting. Unlike every other book I find myself looking at the counter not dreading the end of the narrative but hoping for it! I've listened to books where the writer has pushed the bounds of credibility to the point where I roll my eyes, but this book makes me grind my teeth, not from the story but from the reader. For Sharpe fans I would recommend buying the paper back and skip this audiobook.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story but narration was a bit forced.

Story was great. Narrator on other books (Frederick Davidson) would have been a better fit.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • United States
  • 02-09-12

At its worst, it is actually painful...

In Sharpe's Escape, you have an historical fiction written using Bernard Cornwell's fusion of masterful storytelling with British Military history that has allowed cornwall to write thousands of pages of fiction.

This is a great achievement, but it can be a trap that leaves the writer stuck in the trough of his own ability, writing material for which there is a demand, but which has lost all interest for the person writing it; casting him and his storytelling into a doldrums where what he writes becomes not a matter of inspiration and technique but a matter of technique and nothing else.

Sharpe's Escape, makes you wonder if Cornwell has reached this point because the liaison between the written word and the performed one never quite seem to gel well enough for you not to notice the holes, coincidences and other contrivances that are an integral part of most adventure fiction but which become painfully glaring in this particular performance and a lot of that can be laid at the narrator's door.

The previous elements of the Sharpes series as audiobooks are read by Frederick Davidson whose crisp, upper-crust English accent lends credibility to the things he reads. Unfortunately for the reader, Sharpe's escape, is read by Patrick Tull, who has an accent similar to mister Davidson's but whose reading lacks Davidson's range of the regional accents that differentiate characters.

Worse still, mister Tull seems to be more actor than reader: He doesn't seem to 'get' what Cornwell's prose is doing so that he constantly employs an annoyingly upbeat, rising emphasis on Cornwell's sedate transitions between scenes and paragraphs, which, when thrown together with the rest of his gravelly-voiced, asthmatic, swallowing-punctuated reading, makes for an experience that is distinctly rocky at times, if not at times, actually painful.

For most things, Tull is a perfectly adequate reader, but his making you miss Davidson is nothing to recommend his reading.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

enjoyable, but ...

another title without the author's historical notes. overall a lovely read, well read, and delightful in its entirety, but the missing notes is random and disappointing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More exciting battles in Portugal

My favorite stories by Cornwell in the Sharpe series involve the large Napoleonic battles. This story has a great mix of those and subterfuge when the large unit actions aren't in progress. Patrick Tull, as usual, shows plenty of enthusiasm but is lazy with the accents, and doesn't distinguish hardly at all with the voices for the various characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too Much Vulgarity

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It seems like Cornwell's works get progressively more vulgar and blasphemous. The Religious slurs and filthy language may be part of most soldiers' lives, but all of it does not have to be expressed. I found it very distracting from the story. The story would be improved greatly by just toning it down.

Was Sharpe's Escape worth the listening time?

Debatable. There were some new challenges for Sharpe that were unique (like finding the draining by the cellar of a building to escape. But the abundance of the vulgarity, almost had me turning it off for good, and saying good-bye to Mr. Sharpe.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful