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Sharpe's Havoc [Hardcover]

Bernard Cornwell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 15.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2003

The latest book in the brilliant, bestselling Sharpe series brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper.

It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls.

Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they have to find the missing girl and extricate themselves from the entanglements cast by Colonel Christopher, a mysterious Englishman who has his own ideas on how the French can be ejected from Portugal. Those ideas are as fantastic as they are dangerous, but the French are rampant, Lisbon is threatened and Christopher sees Sharpe and his riflemen as the only obstacles to his subtle scheme.

But there is a newly arrived British commander in Lisbon, Sir Arthur Wellesley, and just when Sharpe and his men seem doomed, Sir Arthur mounts his own counter-attack, an operation that will send the French army reeling back into the northern mountains. Sharpe becomes a hunter instead of the hunted and he will exercise a dreadful revenge on the men who double-crossed him.

Sharpe's Havoc is a classic Sharpe story, a return to Portugal in the company of Sergeant Patrick Harper, Captain Hogan and Sharpe's beloved Greenjackets, who can turn a battle as fast as Cornwell's readers can turn a page.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (7 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007120109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007120109
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

Product Description

Amazon Review

One thing is as sure as death and taxes: that each successive Bernard Cornwell novel will be as exhilarating as its predecessor. Sharpe's Havoc continues the trend, demonstrating once again why the Richard Sharpe books by Cornwell are among the most cherished examples of historical derring-do around. While the novels are all assiduously detailed, with a precise sense of period, Cornwell knows how essential it is that his hero, the danger-prone Richard Sharpe, is as vividly characterised as ever. True to form, in Sharpe's Havoc we never lose sight of the character of the protagonist and the many members of the idiosyncratic supporting cast.

This time, we are taken to the spring of 1809 when a few British soldiers are stationed in Lisbon as Marshal Soult undertakes his assault on the garrison of Northern Portugal. It's not for Sharpe and his trusty crew of riflemen to dwell on the finer points of politics when they are sent into the city of Oporto to save the lives of two British women who have elected to stay. But when one of the women, Kate Savage, goes missing, Sharpe (along with Sergeant Patrick Harper and several battle-hardened colleagues) finds himself besieged in the city when the bridge over the river falls to the enemy. The English are forced on in a desperate journey back to the safety of the British encampment, but things become very murky when an enigmatic English officer informs them that they will be staying in the hellhole that is Northern Portugal.

Cornwell admirers will know exactly what to expect, and all the heady pleasures that distinguished such earlier books as Sharpe's Battle and Sharpe's Company are fully in place here, with the added impetus that comes from a notably picaresque narrative. All the central characters are drawn with the customary forcefulness, and instead of the expected tension and release that is the hallmark of most Cornwell novels, there's a steadily increasing excitement engendered here that leads to an all-stops-out finale. --Barry Forshaw


The 19th novel in the bestselling Sharpe series is set in 1809. Sharpe and his squad of riflemen, with Sergeant Patrick Harper, is in Oporto on the River Douro in northern Portugal, trying to rescue a British mother and her 19-year-old daughter. The daughter, Kate, disappears, and Sharpe has to find her, but is cut off when the bridge is broken. They join forces with a fugitive group of Portuguese soldiers in order to fight their way back to the British lines, but something happens which cancels their orders. Then Sir Arthur Wellesley arrives to take command in the south, and Sharpe breathes again. It is a great story, brilliantly told, which will undoubtedly sell well this coming spring, and is always lively and entertaining.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe as ever! 25 April 2003
By Suet
For long-time fans like me who found "Sharpe's Prey" a bit below par, I'm pleased to say that this one returns to first principles, frog-bashing in the Peninsula; and the author is back on form. If you wondered what happened to Sharpe, Harper & Co. after they joined forces on the retreat to Vigo (Sharpe's Rifles, Jan.1809) and before Talavera (Sharpe's Eagle, July 1809), here's the answer. The Greenjackets are in the wilds of Portugal, where the best Sharpe stories are set, on a mission for Capt. Hogan, the future spy-master. Marshal Soult, 'Duke of Damnation' and aspiring King of Portugal, is closing in. Is all lost? Wait! an obscure sepoy general called Wellesley has landed at Lisbon ...
I'll leave the plot there except to say that it's a ripping yarn (and I've been reading them for twenty years). We meet an upper-class villain fit to take on Sir Henry Simmerson; a beautiful, runaway heiress; and a young Portuguese officer of character and education who has a thing or two to learn from Sharpe. Deja vu? Well, some of the best vus are deja. There have been better ones than this but not many. The atmosphere is as thick as Dan Hagman's tea. There are passages of real sardonic humour, which comes as a relief after the last outing. The action sequences are many and unsurpassed. My only regret is that an old favourite, Sweet William, hasn't shown up yet.
The time slots are filling up but Cornwell makes good use of them. Sharpe and Harper march again. What are you waiting for? And if you didn't understand any of the above, still read the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe has his revenge 17 Sep 2007
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Sharpe's Havoc' is set in the spring of 1809: the French, under Marshal Soult, have just taken Oporto and now effectively control northern Portugal. During the retreat from Oporto Sharpe and his men from the 95th Rifles find themselves cut off from the British army, and must take to the hills. Meanwhile, rumour has it that Sir Arthur Wellesly (the later Duke of Wellington) is coming out to Portugal to take on the French. But Sharpe has more to worry about than the French as he is confronted with a dubious Colonel Christopher, detached from the Foreign Office...

This is a novel in the best Sharpe-tradition, full of action, nothing too complicated in the plot, and easy to read (it took me slightly more than a day of non-stop reading). The final chapters in the hills of northern Portugal when Sharpe exacts his revenge are among the best I've read so far in any Sharpe-novel.

By the way, if you're planning to read the Sharpe-novels chronologically it's good to know that, contrary to what it says on the inside cover pages of the HarperCollins paperbacks, this novel does not come after but BEFORE 'Sharpe's Eagle' (which is set in July 1809 during the Talavera-campaign).

So now it's on to 'Sharpe's Gold'. I do love the smell of a fresh Sharpe-novel in the morning! ;-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels more formulaic than others in the series 23 April 2011
By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE
"Sharpes Havoc" is not as good as the others in the series I have read. It feels much more formulaic, and you can pretty much sketch out what is going to happen in the book after reading the first four pages. The villain of the story, Colonel Christopher is a real pantomime baddie (boo hiss, "he's behind you"): very unconvincing; and the lady of the story has no real character at all. That said, Bernard Cornwell does write well and the battle scenes, particularly towards the end, are thrilling. It's readable but a long way from the best in the series.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars back to the best 30 May 2003
The first question is, do I have to have read the other Sharpe books to enjoy this one?
The answer is absolutely not! As a book in it's own right this is a cracking read. The characters are superb, the historical setting spot on, and the pace of the book excellent.
The storyline is a little simplistic, but this in no way detracts from the core of the novel which revolves around Richard Sharpe's character - and a better rogue to lead you into battle there ain't.
The second question is, I've read the others, is this as good?
Everyone has their favourite Sharpe novel. If you like Sharpe to be in the middle of the action, leading his troup of reprabates against the French, this is up there with the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good 8 April 2003
While I was not to enamoured of either Prey or Trafalgur this is Sharpe back to its best nicely plotted with as usual great action. Worth buying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All the Sharpe books are worth reading 19 May 2014
By wendel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good condition and good value. The stories are wonderful and I'm collecting the whole series. Bernard Cornwell's an excellent story teller with good attention to historical facts
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough action - not worth the full price! 14 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I paid 99p for this book and I am glad I didn't pay more! It is not worth it!
The book follows on from Sharpe's Rifles, which was a much better book and more full of
It is set completely in Portugal, which interested me as I now live in that country, so I
could understand the scenery and the attitude of the locals.
Sharpe and his men are cut off from the main army and have to protect an English girl
supposedly married to a Colonel, who turns out to be a traitor and out to feather his
own nest. There is too much hanging around at the quinta (a farm) waiting for orders until
the men finally get into a battle.

The characters are not developed and the battles are repeats of previous books. You could
skip this book and not lose anything in the reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Easy to read but follows the usual format.
Published 29 days ago by AJD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I have enjoyed the read, book came in time.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. S. Amey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Shame the books are not audio
Published 1 month ago by Paul Brazier
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read.
Action from start to finish and a good story line. Sharp is His usual hard fighting man. Although now an Officer he is still more at home in the ranks and leading from the front.
Published 7 months ago by I Mclellan
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe present
Another book my son has read in the Sharpe series and once gain he seemed to enjoy this novel. No complaints
Published 8 months ago by Mr P Dale
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid outing
Sharpe's Havoc is a well written, actioned packed novel. The characters are as good as ever and the book is well paced. Read more
Published 11 months ago by RK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sharpe
Some edge of your seat stuff. Great descriptions of battles. If you like Sharpe you will like this one. Really!
Published 12 months ago by Kathy Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
this isn't the first time I've read this book but it's as fresh, exciting and as well written as the first time. Would thoroughly recommend it!!
Published 13 months ago by Margaret Croucher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, look forward to reading further Books.
Very good service, would send repeat orders, in the very near future.
Could not find any fault in the service.
Published 14 months ago by MR. N J CUTLER
2.0 out of 5 stars Audio CD
I tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to order a hardback edition of the book's format, as opposed to paperback, not an audio version. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Donus
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