Cornwell, Bernard Sharpe's Escape

ISBN 13: 9780007120130

Sharpe's Escape

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9780007120130: Sharpe's Escape

The twentieth instalment in the bestselling Sharpe series.

Sharpe's Escape takes place in the summer of 1810, once again in the Peninsular War. The French are mounting their third and most dangerous invasion of Portugal. Captain Richard Sharpe with his company of redcoats and riflemen meets the invaders on the gaunt ridge of Bussaco. But there, despite a stunning British victory, the French are not stopped and the army have to fall back.

Sharpe has made enemies among the Portuguese and during the retreat through Coimbra, he and Sergeant Harper are lured into a trap designed to kill them. With the help of an Englishwoman, Sharpe survives, but is cut off from the army. He has to rejoin his regiment if the command is not to fall to the ambitious Lieutenant Slinbsby. At the Lines of Torres Vedras, the vast defences built to stop the French before Lisbon, Sharpe confronts his enemies in a climactic battle.

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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

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

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