Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sharpe's Revenge

Sharpe's Revenge
© 1989 Bernard Cornwell

Englishmen in Toulouse, Prussians in Paris -- there are foreigners everywhere, and for Napoleon the war is over. Not for Sharpe, though, not by a long shot. His old enemy Pierre Ducos has seen fit to ensnare Sharpe one last time before the piece is signed, and it will cost Sharpe more than he ever imagined.  Sharpe’s Siege takes the reader  through what seem to be the last skirmishes of the war, and then into the peace, which is far more dangerous. Accused of murder and grand theft,  Sharpe is left to wander through France avoiding the armies of l’Empereur and the English Crown, for both have become his enemy.  Sharpe’s Siege is one of the more agonizing pieces in this series, but satisfies in a way few have.  The plot is vaguely familiar (I’m sure this isn't the first time Sharpe has been on the lam from his own army with no one but Patrick at his side),  but the late game is more than mere military adventurism.  Sharpe’s own soul is tortured here, and while it’s painful for him it’s great reading -- and it is moments like those crafted in here that will be remembered long after the series is finished and the epic battles scenes have evaporated from memory.  I rather doubt Sharpe’s Waterloo can top this, but we’ll see.

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