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Sharpe's Waterloo

4.6 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B004K2QF4E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Like all good things the `Sharpe' series had to come to an end and what better way with the most famous battle of the Napoleonic Wars - Waterloo. Most Bernard Cornwell fans will be well aware that 1990's `Sharpe's Waterloo' was by no means the character's last book, but the author wrote it like it may have been. The Sharpe series have always had a basic structure; battle at the start, Sharpe falls for a woman, Sharpe meets colourful enemy with nickname such as `The Butcher', battle at the end in which Sharpe beds woman and kills enemy. `Waterloo' throws this out of the window and instead is almost one continuous battle from start to finish.

With this in mind the book will appeal to some fans of the series and not others. As a rule I love the way that Cornwell describes fighting and `Waterloo' is a smorgasbord of detail and horror. For me it is the quintessential novel by the author and highlights how brilliant he is at creating atmosphere and making history evocative. However, other people will decry the lack of character development and the way that some storylines are seemingly left to hang in the air. It is true that there is no real structure to the book apart from the battle itself, but when that battle is written so well this is all you need. I would urge people to read some of the earlier book in the series first so that you get to know and love Sharpe and Harper, but for those who do know them - this is their greatest test ever.
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Format: Paperback
Sharpe's Waterloo is quite a different book to the other Sharpe's I have read. Sharpe seems to have been written around the events at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, rather than being central to them. If Sharpe was an afterthought, then Harper was lucky to make it into the pages at all. Whilst he is there, he doesn't add anything to the plot, but perhaps Cornwell just didn't want to leave him out. If anything the battles are the central characters.
I still really enjoyed reading this, the writing style still made it hard to put down, the battle descriptions are detailed, gruesome and gripping as any, maybe more so.
Sharpe's feud with Lord John Rossendale and his dispute with the foolish Prince of Orange thread through the story in true Cornwell style.
It's the end of the Napoleonic wars for Sharpe, Harper and a few others, perhaps a fitting one, though I'm not too sure. Still, I am sure that I'll be reading Sharpe's Devil pretty soon, followed by Sharpe's Tiger et al.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." -- Revelation 16:16

Waterloo was the last battle of the Napoleonic Wars, a last brilliant gamble by the returned-from-exile Emperor Napoleon to surprise his enemies and gloriously split their forces so they could be destroyed. The best part of the book comes in having Richard Sharpe be present for the key action as the British and Prussians are surprised . . . and almost undone before barely prevailing. The battle story telling reminded me of the best parts of Bruce Catton's distinguished history books of the American Civil War. It's gripping and terribly interesting . . . in that strange way that awful events pull us in.

Bernard Cornwell also remained loyal to his favorite pet peeves, working them into central parts of the story:

1. The gaps between the well-born and the up-from-the-ranks officers.
2. The hypocritical attitude toward honor among the well-to-do.
3. The idiocy of letting aristocrats with no experience make battle decisions.
4. The bravery of the despised common soldier who fought better than any other nation's soldiers.

He also picks up on the disloyalty of Sharpe's wife, dangling in our minds many potential ends for the perfidious lovers.

I was sorry to see the last battle.

If you haven't read any other books in the series, do go back and start at the beginning in order of the chronology of the events . . . before reading this satisfying book.

Charge!
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Format: Hardcover
The perfect companion for all historical fiction enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This, the culmination of the series to which all previous installments have pointed, is without question Cornwell's best book. While Sharpe's personal life does enter into it, at least 3/4 of the book if not more is devoted to the complex Battle of Waterloo which took place from Thursday, June 15 with Napoleon's invasion of the Netherlands to the final, epic, and hair-raising battle near the village of Waterloo on Sunday, June 18. Cornwell does a brilliant job of depicting the speed of Napoleon's invasion and the way he caught the Allies completely flat-footed.

Sharpe is not with Wellington's army but instead is attached, as a Lieutenant Colonel, to the staff of the leader of the forces of the Netherlands, the young Prince of Orange. From this position, he watches helplessly as the French capitalise on mistake after mistake by Wellington's allied commanders, particularly the Prince of Orange; at the climax of the battle, he and Harper can not stand by any longer and thrust themselves into the fighting.

History has recorded that Wellington won, but it was a close thing. Cornwell expertly milks every drop of excitement from this battle in yet another--and his best--page-turning thriller. It's a marvelous accomplishment.

Highly recommended.
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