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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling novelist Bernard Cornwell crafts a thrilling tale from his immensely popular Richard Sharpe series. In 1809 Lieutenant Sharpe and his riflemen are in Portugal, preparing for Napoleon’s next strike. The smaller English force will probably pull out before it’s too late, but not Sharpe. His orders are to find the missing daughter of an English wine shipper. Just as Sharpe and his men begin their mission, the French launch their punishing assault.

©2003 Bernard Cornwell (P)2003 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    281
  • 4 Stars
    113
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    247
  • 4 Stars
    91
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    6
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    4

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    258
  • 4 Stars
    97
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    24
  • 2 Stars
    2
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not Exactly Unabridged

If you could sum up Sharpe’s Havoc in three words, what would they be?

Sharpe's adventures are always entertaining, rich in historical detail, and good action-adventure. This particular story is a little below the usual high grade yarn Cornwell tells, but only a little. The climax is a modestly improbable in what does *not* happen to Sharpe (I am avoiding a spoiler). For much of this book, this story also takes Sharpe further from the actual historical events than is the norm for the series. The Sharpe series was originally a series of 11 books. They were sufficiently successful that some sequel and prequel books were written, plus a few (like this novel) that were shoe-horned in between the original volumes. This particular story is taking place in the spring of 1809, as French Marshal Soult conquers northern Portugal, and then prepares to move on to Lisbon with his seemingly unstoppable army of 25,000 veterans. The small British army is in Lisbon, commanded by General Cradock, perhaps waiting to embark on British shops and sail home. All of Portugal is ready to fall, and Soult is being encouraged to dream big dreams for his personal future. But of course, Soult never planned on Lieutenant Richard Sharpe, Sergeant Patrick Harper, and their fearsome dogs of war, their fellow refugees from the British 95th Rifles.

Any additional comments?

Unlike the original 11 books in the Sharpe series (I believe all read by Frederick Davidson), the narrator of this book neglects to read the closing "Historical Notes" provided by the author. For me, at least, it is always interesting to know when the story's done what was real history and what was fiction. I'm fortunate enough to have a hard cover version of the book, and so able to look this information up, after listening to the book in my car. I would strongly encourage Audible to include the "Historical Notes" of Cornwall's books.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • KEITH
  • Canyon Country, CA, United States
  • 10-22-11

Hard to go back

I am a huge Sharpe fan and have read or listened to all the books at least twice. I do notice that when Mr. Cornwell goes back to insert a battle into the original timeline the story is not as crips as before. Mr. Tull does a very fine job but once you listen to Mr. Davidson read, he is so very hard to beat. The story is good. What I am saying is if you have not heard all the other Sharpe stories, start with them and go back and insert these, as Mr. Cornwell did.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Does not sink well the books either side of it but a good read

As this book was written years after Sharpe's Rifles and Sharpe's Eagle it should fit nicely between the two and a few facts don't quite work well. Yes they mention his poor dead estrange wife and child, which are never mentioned in any of the other books besides Sharpe's Trafalgar, and Sharpe's Prey. He thinks about staying behind enemy lines to stay away from the army but the other books describes his longing for the army even though it can treat him with scorn. He knows Arthur Wellsley to talk without any reserve that he has in other books following and he doesn't have the self questioning manner that he has in his other books as he rises in rank. Otherwise, Sharpe gets into trouble, gets out of trouble, gets the bad guy and saves the girl in the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Good book, horrible narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would not recommend this narrator to Americans. Very challenging to understand what the British narrator is saying. I was not able listen in the car because I would have to strain to catch every word and found myself having to rewind constantly. Eventually gave up and just read the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Filler story for Sharpe in Portugal

Not Cornwell's strongest piece, but still good. I felt like this story was missing something, maybe it just wasn't epic enough. While I liked Patrick Tull's narration in Trafalgar, I find now that he's very lazy with accents. In stories like these where so many different nationalities are involved, some variety in voices is necessary to add flavor to an Audio book.

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

Fun

Always a fun adventure, well written and a good eye for the little details that captures a slice of real soldiers experience.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Missing Historical notes

Would you try another book from Bernard Cornwell and/or Patrick Tull?

Yes

What did you like best about this story?

The story

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Fix the missing historical notes at the end of every Sharp novel

Any additional comments?

Fix the missing historical notes at the end of every Sharp novel

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

Good. Not his best. Fine for Sharpe fans . . . . 😱

Entertaining and enjoyable but not great . . . 😱
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5 stars is great (I rarely give this rating).
4 stars is good (given only to interesting and well-written books).
3 stars is OK (the usual listen I encounter on Audible).
2 stars is poor (and not worth the credit or the listen).
1 star is awful (and to be diss'ed and shunned and spread as thus through out the Audible Universe)!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 😱

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

Sharpe's Havoc

Once again Cornwell presents a character you hate to love, and end up respecting. With Pactrick Tull's excellent performance the listener is pull into the story and finds themselves anxiously waiting for the next line.

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

great cornwell

as usual amazing historical fiction, though this recording did not include the historical note which was disappointing. most Richard Sharpe audiobooks include them and all the written copies have them