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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Sharpe Adventure
The twentieth Sharpe book contains everything fans of the series have come to expect from Cornwell. Set in 1810, the story finds the British Army executing a strategic retreat from the overconfident French forces in Spain. Lord Wellington has ordered the land stripped of all food so that the massive French army will overextend itself and face severe logistical problems...
Published on 30 Jan 2005 by A. Ross

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe surprise
Bought the entire series for my son but this was one of a few that he felt were not as good as some
Published 4 months ago by Mr P Dale


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Sharpe Adventure, 30 Jan 2005
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sharpe Series (10) - Sharpe's Escape: The Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Paperback)
The twentieth Sharpe book contains everything fans of the series have come to expect from Cornwell. Set in 1810, the story finds the British Army executing a strategic retreat from the overconfident French forces in Spain. Lord Wellington has ordered the land stripped of all food so that the massive French army will overextend itself and face severe logistical problems when it does finally engage the British. Sharpe is by now the Captain of the South Essex's Light Company but finds his leadership being challenged by the new presence of eager-beaver Lt. Slingsby, who has been placed there by the South Essex's commander, Col. Lawford (who happens to be his brother in-law).
Early on, Sharpe is out patrolling, and stumbles across some Portuguese and a cache of foodstuffs at a signaling tower. He destroys the supplies, per his standing orders, but not before getting into a vicious fight with the hulking Portuguese owner of the goods. This bruiser is Ferragus, an ex-pirate, ex-slaver, and all-around successful gangster whose brother happens to be a Major of Intelligence for the Portuguese Army. These two brothers fulfill the roles of Sharpe's arch-enemies for the story, while Slingsby and Col. Lawford form the usual army irritants. Following Sharpe's initial victory, Ferragus vows to get even, and finds his chance in the chaos that results when the British pull out of Coimbra just before the French get there. Sharpe, Sgt. Harper, old pal Jorge Vicente (from Sharpe's Havoc) find themselves trapped in the city, along with a beautiful English governess. The middle portion of the book is taken up with their adventures, as they evade their Portuguese foes and the French army. Lots of derring-do, trickery, and the usual bravery and close-quarters fighting. This leads to the final third of the book, in which Sharpe's little band escapes the city and races to reach the British army lines before both Ferragus and the French.
Meanwhile, Cornwell provides small glimpses into the activities of the British Army, which entrenches itself in a 40km-long chain of forts. Called the "Lines of Torres Vedras", they were built at great expense, and yet the French are completely unaware of them. Col. Lawford rather inadvisably orders Slingsby to place the Light Company as a picket on a farm below the forts, and ultimately all forces converge there: Sharpe and company, his Portuguese nemeses, and the lead elements of Marshall Massena's army. What follows is vintage Cornwell, as he simultaneously describes the large-scale fight of the Battle of Busaco, as well as the small-scale defense of the farm by the vastly outnumbered Light Company. It's great stuff, and the only regret is that after such rousing set pieces, and the meting out of just desserts, the book ends all too quickly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, sturdy book, 4 May 2004
By 
Super Sal (South East England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sharpe's Escape (Hardcover)
I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and all of his books; however it is his Sharpe series that i like the best, mainly because of the sharp action and deep historical detail. This is another good book, just like the last one, Sharpe's Havoc. There are enough battles and sword and bare-kuckles fights to satisfy anyone, and the description of the lines of Torres-Verdas are particularly fascinating to read, as there has obviously been a lot of reasearch done.
However, like the last novel, I get the feeling that something is not quite there that was in his earlier novels, as the action seems a little bland and is not quite as detailed, it seems. It may just be me, but unlike his earlier works, my favourite of which is Waterloo, I have not found myself rereading this book as I have done the others.
All in all, an exciting plot with a slightly obvious ending which has been done before -Sharpe's Honour and Battle springs to mind- and a little less exciting than the others, but still more than worthy of attention. Bring back Hakeswill!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe's still Triumphant, 15 Feb 2006
By 
This review is from: The Sharpe Series (10) - Sharpe's Escape: The Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Paperback)
Authors sometimes find that they have painted themselves into a corner by writing about a specific character over a given period. Throughout the 1980s and 90s Bernard Cornwell told the chronological tales of Sharpe as he progressed through the war and through the ranks.
However, after Waterloo and the war ending what can Cornwell do? Produce a set of prequels? Check! What about integrating new stories into the Napoleonic Wars during time periods previously ignored? Bingo!
Sharpe's Escape takes us back to 1810 and tells of Sharpe's run in with a dodgy Portuguese Major and his criminal brother. As a fan of the series the characters feel like family and the story rattles along at a good pace.
I really enjoyed this title, as a fan. However, I can see it being difficult for first timers as it’s not the strongest of Sharpe novels and no new characterization is offered. I also find it slightly confusing trying to remember what year and rank Sharpe is meant to be fighting in as each new book comes out.
For fans this is a must but for first time Sharpe readers I suggest reading them in Chronological order where possible.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A more extended battle, 29 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Sharpe's Escape (Hardcover)
I used to think that Sharpe had run its course and that after the Trafalgar novel came out, he should have hung up his boots. I was wrong.
Escape, like Havoc gets to the action, it seems, much quicker than some of the other novels and maintains it throughout the course of the story. No one can describe a battle like Bernard Cornwell and he maintains his high standard throughout this book.
A good storyline, if a little predictable with the "big bad buy" and the woman along in the sub plot, but none the less a great read.
Overall, another great outing for Sharpe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great "Locked Room" Escape Flanked by Foolish French, Traitors, and a Strategic Retreat, 13 Mar 2009
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sharpe Series (10) - Sharpe's Escape: The Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Paperback)
I envy all those who read the Richard Sharpe novels in the chronological order of the events contained in them rather than the order in which they were published. For these newer readers, Sharpe's Escape contains all of the best features of the earlier (in chronology) nine novels: an easy-to-despise implacable foe (Ferragus), a slimy traitor (Captain Ferreira), a spectacular battle (Bussaco) where all could be lost if Sharpe doesn't take the right action (a whispered aside to Colonel Lawford), Sharpe dropping in to rescue another impossible combat situation, lots of ill-gotten goods at stake, a beautiful woman to beguile Sharpe, a seemingly impossible problem for Sharpe to solve when he's trapped in the cellar to a warehouse, and justice for the dastardly types.

So what's it all about? Wellington continues to try to hold Portugal against the French. Napoleon has sent Marshal Massena with a huge force to drive the British and Portuguese off the peninsula. Wellington has well-prepared defenses waiting in front of Lisbon, but he wants to starve the French army as much as possible so that attrition will make the conflict short. The French steal food rather than buy it, and Wellington leads a scorched earth program.

As the book opens, Sharpe is grumpy. He's been called back after a week rather than the month's leave his was promised and Colonel Lawford has stuck him with a lieutenant he cannot stand, Slingsby. Sharpe doesn't see how any good can come of all this.

Sharpe is sent to destroy a signaling tower so that the French won't be able to use it. In the process, he discovers the Portuguese brothers, Major Ferreira and Ferragus, preparing to sell a lot of flour to the French. Sharpe and his men quickly put a stock to that, and there's soon a dusty hilltop covered with spoiled flour.

Ferragus employs his brother to exact some revenge on the eve of Bussaco, and Sharpe is lucky to survive. Sharpe is enraged to find that Lawford chooses to relieve him of leading the South Essex so that Slingsby can look good (they are brothers-in-law and Lawford has promised his wife to help Slingsby).

Afterward, Sharpe refuses to apologize to Slingsby and is once again turned into a quartermaster. The plot thickens as we find that Ferragus and Ferreira have compiled enough materiel to keep the French going for weeks . . . and plan to sell the goods to the French. Sharpe steps in to stop this . . . and things go horribly wrong. How will he survive?

This book is excellent from beginning to end. You'll have great fun with the story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on form, 22 Oct 2008
By 
chuckles "barnie884" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sharpe Series (10) - Sharpe's Escape: The Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Paperback)
This is one of the best in the series to date. New enemies that really get to you, a heroin that you can picture. Have to say this book pulls you into Sharpe's world in a way that some of the others dont always, and your desire for Sharpe to defeat his enemy feels like the old rivalry with Hakeswill. Back to your best Cornwell!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book, 6 July 2004
This review is from: Sharpe's Escape (Hardcover)
This is yet another great Sharpe book Cornwell again transports us back to the Napolionic wars and you can feel the excitement of battle and the stench of times(literaly). MORE PLEASE!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, gripping and entertaining - Sharpe at his best., 26 April 2004
This review is from: Sharpe's Escape (Hardcover)
From the first page through to the last this book will have you addicted. Sharpe is a true hero and this book is quality. What more cane be said?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good..., 7 April 2014
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Not the best Sharpe book ever, but worth the read.

Conflict with Lawson creates as grey area that is uncommon is
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THEM ALL, 14 Mar 2014
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I'm a great lover of the Sharpe series. I had read some of the books before the TV series came out and have watched the TV series many times, including the later ones about India. I am now working my way through the books in chronological order and absolutely loving them. It's interesting to see how different some of them are to the TV series. My son finds it strange that a woman can be so interested in gory battles but Bernard Cornwell is a master of the page-turner and his characters are just fantastic.
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