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Sharpe's Rifles Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1994

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (1 Jan. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006176976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006176978
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,264 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


‘Consistently exciting… these are wonderful novels’
Stephen King

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television’s Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Holt on 16 April 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm reading Sharpe for the first time, chronologically. This is the sixth in the series and covers Sharpe's adventures during the retreat to Corunna, when he finally comes to terms with the Rifles, gets involved with Spanish resistance to the French, and learns a lot about how to be an officer. This is easily the best-written of the 'retrospectives', not surprising since it was written long before the others, being 9th in order of writing. Cornwell is not the only prolific author whose quality suffered a little in his later career. There are several things that make this stand out in comparison to its chronological predecessors. The technical quality of the writing is better - with less use of stock phrases, a more consistent and believable plot, and a better balance between descriptive prose and dialogue. The attention to detail is superb, and the sympathetic treatment of Sharpe's problems with being being an officer makes him a much more rounded character than the cardboard super-hero of the India series, for example. Also, whereas in the previous books Sharpe simply has to look at a woman and she is his, here he has to cope with rejection - which he does like a gentleman. The scene-setting is second to none, Cornwell's painting of Galicia during a particularly savage winter is almost painful to read, and the fight scenes are drawn with more patience and faultless pacing - utterly unlike the frenetic whizz-bang (almost Tom and Jerry) efforts of novels written a decade later.

A very good read, probably worth 5 stars, but I had to leave a bit of leeway for those stories written before this one which are probably even better. I must say I admire the skill with which the author writes these novels to fill gaps in the chronology. It must be a nightmare to do, being consistent with books written several years earlier.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By missreader on 21 Jan. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sharpe's Rifles is the story of Richard Sharpe and the French invasion of Galicia. From the outset this is a fast-paced story of faith and determination that is hard to put down.
Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series is a fantastic example of engaging historical fiction. I especially like the historical note at the end of each book explaining which parts of the story were fiction and which were genuine events. These books bring the Peninsular War (and the Indian campaign) to life.
I recommend reading the books in chronological order - not always easy as there are new ones written quite often. Enjoy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jan. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many people compare the Hornblower books to the Sharpe novels and vice versa. The two series have little in common other than covering similar time periods in British history, one from the naval and the other from the military perspective. As his name suggests, Sharpe is quick-witted and as adaptable as a Swiss army knife. Hornblower is more cerebral and comfortable in his officer's role. Sharpe is initially a fish out of water when leading his men, and he knows it.

If you are like me, you've been reading these books in the order of the events they portray (rather than the order of publication). From that perspective, Sharpe's Rifles is the sixth in chronological order of events.

Since Sharpe was raised to be an ensign by saving the life of Sir Arthur Wellesley as the Battle of Assaye, he's been struggling. The Scottish regiments in India didn't want him because he is English. Posted to the 95th Rifles in England, the officers don't want him because he's not a gentleman born and the men don't respect him for the same reason. But he's seen as valuable in a quartermaster role where he can keep an eye on the tricks that soldiers use to fiddle the stores. Sharpe is a good quartermaster, but he wants to fight instead.

In Sharpe's Rifles, Sharpe comes unexpectedly to command a small group of the 95th Rifles during a disastrous retreat from the victorious French. He decides to take his men to Lisbon to find transport, but the men plan to head north instead. Immediately, Sharpe's authority is challenged and he fights back the only way he knows how . . . with his fists. Into that perilous moment steps a Spanish grandee, Major Blas Vivar, who persuades Sharpe to join forces with his cavalry troops who are carrying a mysterious chest to Santiago de Compostela.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book more than Sharpe's Fortress as it was almost continual action.
Following a small battle, Sharpe is left as the senior officer of the 95th Rifles. The men resent him as they don't
know his former fighting skills. There is almost a mutiny and he has to resort to a fist fight with their spokesman,
the Irish Harper, to try and gain control of the men.

They meet up with a group of Spanish led by Major Vivar - a nobleman - and Sharpe realizes he still has much to
learn about being an officer. Later his fighting skills earn the grudging and then genuine respect of the men, and
he and Harper agree a truce, which becomes a liking for each other. I really like the character of Sgt. Harper (as he

Sharpe's Rifles and the Spanish face several attacks from the murderous French and there is a love interest in
Louisa, a Methodist English girl with a horror of an aunt - who is firmly put in her place by a "foul mouthed" Sharpe!

There were a couple of twists in the story and the battles were different and not boring as I found in the siege
scenes in "Fortress".
I would recommend this book, especially if you are interested in the historical events surrounding the fighting in 1809
between France and Spain, Portugal and England. Even if you haven't read another Sharpe novel, this book can "stand alone".
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