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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2007
This book slots in between Sharpe's Escape and Sharpe's Battle and describes the build-up to the Battle of Barossa. As usual the battle sequences are brilliantly told, and Sharpe and his elite Riflemen find themselves in the thick of the action. The middle section of the book is set in Cadiz, the last outpost of Spain, besieged by the French and unwillingly playing host to the British. Sharpe has to help extricate a British diplomat from a potentially diastrous scandal, which he naturally achieves in his own inimitable style. The diplomat is Wellington's younger brother and there is an excellent scene where he eloquently defends Sharpe against the accusations of a very pompous senior officer. He refers to Sharpe's action at Assaye, where he saved Arthur Wellesley's life, and later discusses his brother's character with Sharpe in a very friendly interview which immediately endears this character to the reader as well as to Sharpe, despite his indiscreet behaviour. As usual, Sharpe has a personal mission as well as one for the army, this time hunting the man who took his lieutenant prisoner in the action at the start of the novel.

This is another great addition to the Sharpe collection, which I really enjoyed reading, though I think Cornwell may now have run out of potential fill-in novels, as he seems to have covered all the major battles. Unless he writes about Rolica and Vimeiro - I think they are the only Peninsular battles left!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2006
This book reads like two stories glued together. The first half tells the tale of how Sharpe comes to be in the service of the brother of the Duke of Wellington, who is the British ambassador in Cadiz. Wellesley Junior needs to obtain some ill-judged love-letters that he has written to a very unsuitable woman. Sharpe and his men, who have arrived in Cadiz after a bruising mission to blow up a bridge, are enlisted to aid Wellesley buy back his letters. This story, of intrigue and murder amidst the old town of Cadiz, is very well told and excitingly paced. The opening bridge-blowing adventure is also highly entertaining. As with so many other Sharpe novels, the reader is left wondering whether British officers of the day really were that stupid and pig-headed.

However, the second story of the Battle of Barossa seems like it belongs in a different novel. Even Sharpe and his men realise that as they say on several occasions "we shouldn't be here". The plotting that gets Sharpe & co onto the battlefield is very contrived (Sharpe is brave and an outstanding soldier but usually does not willingly put himself in such danger if there is no good reason to do so) and most of the action concerns a new set of characters who have only had walk-on parts (at most) in the first half of the novel.

This is not to say that the account of the Battle of Barossa is anything other than exceptionally well told, but it just belongs somewhere else. Cornwell does at least bring to life the British senior officers whose fortunes we follow (until Sharpe turns up) and his description of battle is, as always, outstanding. Perhaps the author is seeking to contrast the earlier incompetences of Sharpe's initial mission with the stout-hearted professionalism shown in this battle. There is a "baddie" from that earlier mission who Sharpe wants to polish off, but why wander around in a bloody, corps-level battle to look for a needle in a hay-stack?

So while the book is an exciting read and is full of Cornwell's usual flair for the feel of this period, the need to have Sharpe appear in every major battle of the Peninsular War is becoming a little tiresome and, in this case, unconvincing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
After reading Sharpe's Escape I was left with the strong impression that Cornwell had run out of battles to write about, but Fury proved me ecstatically wrong. For the most part the novel is in the same vein as Escape, Sharpe and his 5 riflemen out on their own fighting their own war. Entertaining but not why I got into Sharpe. The battle at the end though is a perfect example of Cornwell's finest talent, writing sprawling battles with a cast of thousands. I can now once again look forward to the next installment of Sharpe, in the hopes that he will march again. To war.

PS is it me or does nearly every chapter end with "And (noun) will/must (verb)"?!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
NOTE THIS A REVIEW OF THE ABRIDGED AUDIO BOOK READ BY PAUL McGANN.

Amazon link all reviews audio and written together.
This is annoying because if I want to read a review of an audio book then how it is read and who by is very important information for the audio buyer useless for the written word buyer.

Rant over.

This is an excellent audio book and is read really well by Paul McGann.

It made three long car journies fly by.

Paul McGann is Sharpe in this reading.
He has the right voice, pace and as an acomplished actor brings real passion and force to the reading.
True Sean Bean is the actor from the television series but I must admit I soon forgot this fact because McGann is THAT good.

Others have said that this story 'feels like two stories joined'.

They are right with the reading it certainly gives this impression.

Sharpe has his work cut out tracking and retrieving some letters in Cadiz and he is minor performer in the battle.

It's an average Sharpe tale but the battle and campaigne narration of the story is magnificent.

McCann is really brilliant.

The battle scenes are really illustrated by McGann's narration and he has done Bernard Cornwell Proud.

Now this is NOT the best of the Sharpe stories (hence my 4 stars)but it is still dam good and when It ended I was left wanting more which to my way of thinking is always a good sign.(so five stars for Paul McGann!)

My cover to my copy is different from the American version shown. It is the same art work as the paperback book. The once shown here with the $14.95 sticker is the American TV tie in with Sean Bean as Sharpe. but it's the same reader and production.

Its a brilliant piece of almost 6 hours spread over 6 CDs aural entertaiment at its finest.

More Please.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
After the last Sharpe novel, I felt the author was suffering from slight by the numbers' writing but this is a return to form.

The usual ingredients are all there and it was nice to see some competent Senior Officers for a change. This is a blend of Sharpe's usual military skills with the street smarts he developed as a street urchin in London as he gets involved in skull-duggery in Cadiz.

I know that once again Sharpe gets squeezed into a conflict he should have been no-where near, but I think we can forgive this, as this is a good story and well told.
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As other reviewers have pointed out, this book feels disjointed. It reads more like three Sharpe short stories than one novel. First we have Sharpe and his merry band caught behind enemy lines (exciting); then we have Sharpe recruited to foil a blackmail plot (which he does surprisingly easily); and finally we have Sharpe stumbling onto the Battle of Barrosa. This is a battle the British win against three-to-one odds and Cornwell gives full credit for this to sheer British bloodymindedness in the face of terrible slaughter; finely drilled volley musket fire; and the bayonet charge. The French, it seems, while brave, are less well trained, and "they don't like it up 'em" (to borrow a phrase from Corporal Jones). It is finely written stuff and moves at a compelling pace, but, because it is three stories joined together, the book lacks the clear over-arching baddie of others in the series. The cruel and heartless priest is thwarted and then drops out of the book without getting his come-uppance, and the other foe in the book - Colonel Vandal - doesn't seem to have done much to deserve Sharpe's ire. The book also suffers, like many in the series, from poor characterisation. It would be great if some of Sharpe's men could have stronger roles in the books, but we never get to know them. This is hardly surprising as, after having read many of the books, I still don't feel I know Sharpe at all. We read these books because of the brilliant descriptions of battles and tactis, and for their fast-moving pace. It would be nice to get to "know" the characters too. I guess we can't have everything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 March 2014
Sharpe’s fury is set during the battle and build up to the battle of Barossa in 1811. The first half of the book is mainly set in the city Cadiz and follows Sharpe as he tries to resolve a blackmail plot against the British Ambassador. This first half of the book is in my opinion the more enjoyable part of the story.

The second half of the book see Sharpe head to the battle field where he is largely an extra in the battle of Barossa. The battle is very well told but Sharpe’s role in it feels a bit contrived and he very much is an extra to a number of other characters. The battle itself is interesting but perhaps would have made a better novel if told from another characters perspective.

Overall Sharpe’s fury is an enjoyable read, well worth the money I paid for it. However as other reviews have pointed out is does feel like two shorter stories bolted together into one novel, and for this reason a four rather than a 5 star novel.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2007
For most readers Sharpe is now a well loved character who has had countless adventures over a magnitude of books. Cornwell has done a sterling job of going back over the Napoleonic Wars and adding new adventures in-between the original books, but I feel that this tactic is finally catching up with him.

After an exciting battle on a makeshift bridge Sharpe finds himself stranded in Cadiz with a few of his rifles, including the ever dependable Harper. Before he can return to the army he is asked by an ambassador to recover some letters that are being used for blackmail. This adventure will see Sharpe up against a murderous Priest and an excellent French officer. Can Sharpe unravel the murky politics of Spain whilst seeking revenge?

'Sharpe's Fury' is not a bad book and in parts is as good as any of the recent additions to the series. However, the book does feel very disjointed and more like two shorter novels pasted together as one half is in the city, the other on the battle field. Throughout the book Sharpe and Harper reflect on how they should not be there and this feels very true. Cornwell is finding it increasingly difficult to crowbar Sharpe into historic events as there are so few left. Add to this the fact that a battle commences in which Sharpe has little part giving it less character than usual.

For fans of Sharpe this book holds its own and is still a likable read. However, perhaps it is time that Cornwell put Sharpe to bed and concentrated on the other areas of history that he writes about?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2007
In the winter of 1811 all of Spain has been lost to the French, except for the coastal town of Cadiz which is being besieged by the forces of Marshal Victor. Henry Wellesly (the Duke of Wellington's older brother) is ambassador there, and hard pressed to keep the Spanish in the war because quite a few of them believe it would be best to make their peace with Napoleon. To make matters worse, Wellesley's love letters to a Spanish courtesan have fallen into the hands of the Spanish faction opposing the war. So when Sharpe finds himself stranded in Cadiz with a handful of men, Wellesley knows he's found his man. Meanwhile a joint force of English and Spanish is setting out to attack Victor in the rear, but the Spanish commander Lapena is showing little eagerness to join battle.

Before this novel culminates in the famous battle at Barossa, there's villains and action galore to keep Sharpe busy and yourself entertained. And if this isn't your first Sharpe-novel you'll know that few can rival Cornwell in writing a fast-paced story that'll keep you turning pages. Granted, there's nothing very learned about any Sharpe-novel, and all the characters are indeed either good or bad and it's all very straightforward stuff but hey, they were meant to entertain and that's what these novels do in a superb manner.

One minor annoyance: Cornwell and his publisher clearly made sure all novels are self-contained so you could read them in random order and that's all very well, but if you're reading them back to back it does get annoying to come across (in each novel, again and again and again...) the bits
- about how Sharpe got his commission
- the story behind Sharpe's telescope
- Sergeant's Harper's volleygun
- Rifleman Hagman's history as a poacher
- etc. etc.

But as I said: that's a minor detail because the remaining 99,8% of the book are as good as ever.
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