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Sharpe's Escape: Richard Sharpe and the Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Thorndike Adventure) Hardcover – Large Print, 9 Jul 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 667 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (9 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786266902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786266906
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,654,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

There's no question that Bernard Cornwell's ever-growing magnum opus consists of his books featuring the doughty soldier Richard Shape, of which Sharpe's Escape is the 20th title. All the elements that aficionados look for in Cornwell's books are firmly and satisfyingly in place. The year is 1810, and the British Army is struggling against the confident French, who are assailing Portugal once again. As British soldiers cross into Spain, they find a hunger-ridden, depleted land. In the middle of the chaos is Captain of the Light Company, Richard Sharpe, who has found a new nemesis in Ferragus, a duplicitous Portuguese man well-connected with the French invaders. However, the battle between the two men takes a more dangerous turn, when Sharpe, no longer with his regiment, takes some unorthodox routes to prosecute his personal battle. With only his ex-colleague, the reliable Sergeant Harper and a Portuguese ally, Jorge Vicente, to help confront myriad enemies, the Sharpe/Ferragus duel is fought through the ruined streets of Coimbra and on to Lisbon, as Wellington mounts a coup de grace against the French.

Bernard Cornwell fans know what to expect: vivid scene-setting and pithy historical detail (never artificially freighted in, always comfortably ensconced), exhilarating action set-pieces, and (riding above it all) the larger-than-life figure of Richard Sharpe, realised with real bravura. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘The Richard Sharpe novels are notable for their wonderfully astringent view of history. Sharpe is a man first and a patriot second: he is as likely to pick a fight with one of his own side as charge blindly towards the enemy.' Sunday Telegraph

‘No one is better than Bernard Cornwell in describing battles large and small, howitzer fire, cavalry charges or bayonet attacks.' Evening Standard

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Ross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Jan. 2005
Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
One of the main problems in writing a series of books about the same character is the tendency to drop into cliched, almost automated, prose. I'm not talking about catchphrases uttered by the hero, they can become tiresome, but are acceptable. No, my objection is to essentially the same descriptive text or phrases appearing in book after book. The really great authors, like Doyle with Holmes, avoid this as a simple matter of technique, but Cornwell sometimes slips into such sloppy writing in his later Sharpe novels. In this book, he also seems to make a point of repeating every little historical nugget he has delighted us with in the past - to the extent that they become little more than padding. New readers will not mind this, of course, but I am sure that the majority of Sharpe readers have read several of the novels before, and don't need reminding in great detail, for example, that a ball for a rifle needs a leather wad round it to grip the rifling, otherwise ..... So, that explains the 'turgid' in the title.

What about 'gratuitous'? War is necessarily violent, often brutal - but the great writers don't fall into the trap of describing this in infinite detail - rightly seeing that it is part of their skill to leave something to the imagination of the reader - and to provide appropriate stimuli for that. Cornwell has verged on gratuitous in many previous novels, but has always managed to avoid the abyss - with considerable skill. Here, all to often, he simply doesn't bother. The battle scenes tell it like it is, in such detail that the tales of appalling maiming and death rapidly become boring.
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