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4.7 out of 5 stars63
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Following on the heels of Sharpe's Eagle, Sharpe's Gold (the 9th novel in chronological order of events) plays on the darker side of "doing one's duty" of winning at any cost. During the early part of the Peninsula Wars, the Spanish army ceased to exist and a payroll for the nonexistent army is left in limbo. After a scout learns that the partisans have the gold, Sir Arthur Wellesley decides that the money must be liberated to help save the British army from defeat in Portugal.

After an awkward interchange where Captain Richard Sharpe (promoted from Lieutenant in Sharpe's Eagle) interferes with a provost who wants to hang one of his men as a looter, Wellesley tells Sharpe that he "must" get the gold. An earlier foray with cavalry failed, but there is a British officer watching the gold along with the partisans (guerillas). All Sharpe has to do is lead his few infantrymen behind enemy lines, persuade the partisans (led by the dangerous and suspicious El Catalico) to give him the Spanish gold, and then carry it back through enemy lines again.

Naturally, the challenge is even more difficult than expected. The scout who accompanies him is immediately captured by the French and Sharpe decides to rescue him. After that, the Spanish partisans claim the French have the gold and that the British officer has been captured. In the ensuing battle, Sharpe saves and becomes entranced by a most remarkable young woman, one who fights better than most men and is also very beautiful.

In the story, Bernard Cornwell brilliantly uses a real historical incident to present Sharpe with one of those "someone will die no matter what I do" choices that often occur in war. If you read this book with a friend, you can have some fun debating what Sharpe might have done differently.

The story is way too dark to be totally satisfying to Sharpe fans. Otherwise, it's brilliantly done. But it pales compared to the remarkable Sharpe's Eagle that preceded it.

Enjoy!
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Captain Sharpe's task is to recover from a feared guerilla leader the gold Wellington so desperately needs. The enemy he faces strikes terror into the hearts of all around -a renegade guerilla band whose leader has a particular loathing for Sharpe who has stolen his woman. Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.
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on 12 August 2014
Bernard Cornwell is, in my opinion [for whatever that is worth] the best historical author currently working in the world of narrative fiction; based upon real-life historical events. He pulls no punches in respect to the often extremely violent reality of life during the wide ranging periods of human history he has covered. The net result is an authentic and often contemporary feel, featuring a cast of flawed characters that the modern day reader can identify with [in some cases], and entertained by until it becomes quite addictive.
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on 6 May 2006
Incrediable read. Non-stop action and story never lets you go. Sharpe is as daring as ever, Harper is as comical and the battles are as visual.

I love the new book cover artwork.
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on 21 February 2015
The description of military life, the (crazy, of course) British army system of leadership and life in the ranks, the historical background that one can further look up on Wiki, the fact that the French are respected as soldiers (none of the boring frog-bashing one expects from Poms), and a well written, excellently paced adventure novel to present it all....all good stuff! Sharpe is, in most ways, totally the opposite of Flashman, but the colourful setting and period are beautifully described, not as a lecture, but in illuminating support of the tale....refreshing.
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on 17 August 2008
This is an excellent book, but take care it was first published in 1981 so you may already have it on your book case!
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on 6 March 2013
I'm gradually working through the Sharpe series of books - although usually with a gap between each one.

I know roughly what to expect in each. It's a comfortable read which I enjoy much as many TV series - and I might be picking up a little history and some insight on life in those days as a side benefit.
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on 24 February 2014
I am a devoted fan of the tv series and actually watch it every time it is on no matter how many times I have seen it. As an avid reader it was only natural that I should buy the complete set of these books and I am really looking forward to reading them, I just hope they don't let me down.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 September 2013
I have enjoyed all the Sharpe books so far and this is no exception. The story is well told and whilst there are few surprises in the book it is an entertaining read. Overall if you enjoy the Sharpe novels then you will enjoy this one, if not then this is probably not the book for you.
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on 17 January 2016
This is as usual a very good and interesting read. As with all the Sharpe books I thoroughly enjoy the story, and the action.
I have read many of Bernard Cornwell's books and can say without a doubt that he is my favourite author.
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