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Book Note: Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe's Rifles

I read this book about 14-Dec-2001. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1988. This note was last modified Thursday, 19-Dec-2002 16:20:48 PST.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


This is the first of a series of novels about Richard Sharpe and the peninsular campaign (England in Spain against the French). This one takes place in 1809. Well, it was the first written; there are others, written later, that take place during Sharpe's previous career, in India and elsewhere. I tend to prefer publication order.

There's a lot of ground combat, infantry and cavalry, and amateurs. Good English, Irish, Spanish, and French characters, too. It starts in the aftermath of the defeat of Moore's army, with the 95th Rifles, and follows them through extreme adventures until they eventually reach the English garrison in Lisbon (I trust it isn't a spoiler that some of them survive the book, as it's the start of a series).

I picked these up after having read so much about the naval warfare of the period (Forrester, O'Brian, and quite a few others).

This was well done. Maybe a bit more skin-of-the-teeth than I prefer; or at least too often. Sharpe learns a lot about command, and command in combat, which is fairly well done. I imagine I'll read more of these soon (don't have any more yet).

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David Dyer-Bennet