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Sharpe's Trafalgar: The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (The Sharpe Series, Book 4) Paperback – 28 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (28 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000723516X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007235162
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 363,466 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

Ensign Richard Sharpe is back in Sharpe's Trafalgar, the 17th in Bernard Cornwell's remarkable series of Sharpe novels. Sharpe is at the thick of things again, but this time not on the battlefield, but on the high seas.

The year is 1805 and Sharpe is stuck in Bombay, waiting passage back to England on the Calliope. He soon discovers that his fellow passengers include the aged, patrician Lord William Hale and his "breathtakingly, achingly, untouchably beautiful" young wife, Lady Grace. The scene is set for a romantic but eventful passage, which becomes even more entangled as the Calliope is surprised by the rogue French warship the Revenant. The ensuing maritime adventures sail Sharpe right into one of the most momentous naval battles of all time, off Cape Trafalgar, on the 21st of October 1805, as the massed fleets of Spain and France face the might of Admiral Horatio Nelson's English navy.

Sharpe's Trafalgar is one of Cornwell's most ambitious Sharpe novels to date. Filled with the Cornwell trademarks of heroism, graphic violence, romance and vivid evocation of the period, its portrayal of Sharpe at sea is convincingly done and Sharpe's encounter with Nelson himself, alongside his previous encounters with historical figures such a sWellington, is particularly effective--the frail Admiral characterised as asking "nothing from life except to be seated with his good friends Chase, Blackwood and Richard Sharpe". Sharpe's Trafalgar finds Bernard Cornwell on top form; Sharpe fans will not be disappointed. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Sharpe and his creator are national treasures.' Sunday Telegraph

'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail

'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.’ George R.R. Martin


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jun. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Most of us reading this page have a lot of time and enthusiam invested in Richard Sharpe's brilliant career. On finishing the Sharpe series, I reluctantly launched off into O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin saga - very sorry to leave the dashing Sharpe behind. Now, with the 20 volumes of O'Brian's wonderful work just behind, I looked forward to Cornwell's "Trafalgar" as a way to keep the magic of the Royal Navy with me. O'Brian is probably an impossibly high standard by which to measure this book, but what has struck me painfully on reading "Trafalgar", was how cartoonish Richard Sharpe has become. Sharpe was always "pulled up from the gutter" not only by his own bootstraps, but also from the strength of his character. His always seeminly sullied integrity that would come shining through, alongside his almost always James Bondian heroics, was the essence of the Sharpe books. Here, he's not even at war and he commits a murder. Why? We're told it's because the victim had "made an enemy" of Richard Sharpe. In sum, this is not the Richard Sharpe of the other 16 books. The characters here, including Richard, are all thin - to the point of being two dimensional. "Trafalgar" unfortuately is not an integral part of the Sharpe sequence and could just as well be left off the list. If the Royal Navy of the Peninsular War sparks your interest, read O'Brian.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
Only Richard Sharpe could get caught up in a fleet battle on the way home from India and find romance on a Royal Navy line-of-battle ship. But he does, and it's a highly entertaining read, if a little dark and implausible in places. Bernard Cornwell had to stretch things a bit to explain what an army officer was doing at a sea battle, and although Sharpe has always had a brutal way with bad guys, he is particularly ruthless with a minor villain in this book.

"Sharpe's Trafalgar" is set after the conclusion of the prequel trilogy of novels set in India, in which he obtained a fabulous treasure, was promoted to be an officer after saving the life of General Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington), and dealt with the traitor Dodd. Shipping home to join the 95th Rifles, Sharpe initially takes passage on an East Indiaman, and finds an old opponent as one of the passengers. Treachery follows and the ship is captured by the French.

However, as the story is about Sharpe's Trafalgar, we know that he will not remain a prisoner of war for long. Sure enough, after an involved series of events, including the obligatory rescue of a lady in distress, Sharpe and his fellow passengers find themselves guests on a Royal Navy 74 gun ship of the line, chasing a French battleship half-way round the world. Until both ships arrive off Cape Trafalgar on 21st October 1805 ...

As usual Bernard Cornwell has done a great deal of research so that the Napoleonic era battles he describe seem real, and in the historical note at the end he explains that many of the events described during the battle of Trafalgar were based on things which really happened.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
In chronological order, Sharpe's Trafalgar is the fourth book in the series. You could also think of it as an out-of-sequence book because it has little to do with the stories about Richard Sharpe as a soldier. In fact, unless you want to read a little about what it was like to be at the Battle of Trafalgar, you could skip this book and not miss anything important in the way of character development. Unlike the India books where Sharpe was continually fighting off deadly threats to his life, Sharpe is more concerned here with sneaking around with a married woman, a remote cousin of Sir Arthur Wellesley, Lady Grace Hale.

The Napoleonic Wars were fought in Europe. Naturally, Sharpe has to leave India if he is to appear to save the day in all of those amazing battles on the continent. Naturally, he's going to pass by Trafalgar. Why not write a book about the battle and have Sharpe stumble into it? That's clear the thought process behind this book.

As a result, you end up with a lot of plot "development" that is sort of filler before the main battle. Having never studied the sea battle, I found that the explanations were interesting and the story helped make the technology and strategy easier to understand. Had this been a novella that focused on the last third of this book, I probably would have graded the book as a five-star effort.

The ins and outs of avoiding being swindled by ship chandlers, East India ship captains, and common seamen didn't seem all that interesting to me. The romantic side of the book wasn't too credible to me and didn't add much to my enjoyment of the story. If you think Bernard Cornwell's novels about Sharpe lack enough of a love interest, then you'll probably like this book a lot better than I did.
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Format: Hardcover
Bernard Cornwell's latest addition to the Sharpe saga fits between Sharpe's Fortress and Sharpe's Rifles. He is an Ensign and needs to get back to England to join the newly formed rifles. He joins a ship of the East India company convoy and is forced to travel in the worst accomodation. Also on board he meets Pohlmann, whom enthusiasts will remember from a previous book. Lord William, Sharpe's obligatory upper class rival, and his beautiful wife Lady Grace, and yes, he does. The ship is betrayed by the Captain and captured by the French ship "Revenant". The ship is en route to be sold when it is recaptured by "Pucelle" Captained by Sharpe's friend Captain Chase. The next part of the book consists of a fascinating chase by "Pucelle" after "Revenant" and the even more fascinating indiscretions of Sharpe and Lady Grace. Finally "Revenant" joins the Franco Spanish fleet and "Pucelle" Nelson's fleet and they head off to battle off the point of Trafalgar and you know the result of that. Suffice to say Dick does us proud. The book, as you'd expect, from Cornwell is researched beyond belief and Bernards startlingly descriptive writing of battles on land has been effectively transferred to sea. The smell burns your sinuses and the cloying smoke and heat as you stand amidst the caldron of the lower gun decks and atop the rigging leave you wide eyed. Stood alone, a fascinating account of the battle and, as expected, a damn good read but, for me, Sharpe's presence spoilt it! Having read all the novels in the series it struck me that Bernard had put him there to satisfy some pressure to perpetuate the saga. I don't think he should have. Sharpe should be left on his Normandy farm in 1819. But read this book as a "stand alone" and you will be struck by the pictures Cornwell can write. In short Bernard more battles please but Sharpe has had his day.
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