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Sharpe’s Revenge: The Peace of 1814 (The Sharpe Series, Book 19) Paperback – 3 May 2005
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‘Sharpe and his creator are national treasures.' Sunday Telegraph
'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.’ George R.R. Martin
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Richard Sharpe and the Peace of 1814.See all Product description
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Of all the books, this one feels most like a sequel. It begins with the fall out from Sharpe's Siege set weeks before; leading Sharpe to a duel that will test his relationship with Jane, started in Sharpe's Regiment; and embroils Sharpe first in battle then in peacetime treachery, that will have life or death consequences for friends and foe (Nairn, Frederickson, Ducos) who've inhabited Sharpe's world since Sharpe's Enemy.
With so much to resolve, Cornwell makes great use of his standard omniscient narration to tell the story 'over the shoulder' of these characters. Sharpe increasingly terrified before battle, longing for retirement and his wife; Harper trapped in the army; Frederickson losing any purpose he had; all the French characters waiting for the country to descend into chaos and making their plans.
Cornwell, all the peninsular battles behind him, goes to town on the last battle of the war in the first 3rd of the book. There follows a thrilling melodrama (not unlike Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) in style and subject) played out across England, France and Italy with plenty of tough, tense action. I love the TV show but, free from budgetary or timing constraints, this is far superior. The characters truly think this is the end for them: of course, we know there's one last march...
However, things soon take a turn for the worse when Sharpe is wrongfully accused not only of having stolen Napoleon's personal treasure which the new French government is eager to retrieve, but of having murdered the sole witness. So Sharpe must escape, and as a fugitive for both the English and French authorities find out who's behind the scheme that could cost him his life.
Because of the sheer number of comparable novels Cornwell has written it might seem almost normal that, yet again, this is a superb adventure novel, perhaps one of the best in the entire series, and of a quality many other authors never or rarely achieve. The plot is extremely well done, with Sharpe at first groping in the dark to find out who's out to get him, and when he does discover the culprit he makes it absolutely clear that no one crosses Major Richard Sharpe and gets away with it.
And now, sadly, there's only "Sharpe's Waterloo" left for me to read!
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