Sharpe's Escape: Portugal, 1810 (Cornwell, Bernard)

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9780060530471: Sharpe's Escape: Portugal, 1810 (Cornwell, Bernard)

A new instalment in the bestselling Sharpe series.

Paul McGann brings the drama and action alive.

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.

Soldier, hero, rogue – Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

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Product Description:

The twentieth instalment in the bestselling Sharpe series.

It is 1810 and the French are making yet another attempt to invade Portugal. Facing them is a wasted land, stripped of food by Wellington’s orders, and captain Richard Sharpe.

But Sharpe is in trouble. His job as Captain of the Light Company is under threat and he has made a new enemy, a Portuguese criminal known as Ferragus. Sharpe, discarded by his regiment, wages a private war against Ferragus – a war fought through the burning, pillaged streets of Coimbra, Portugal’s ancient university city. Sharpe’s enemies are numerous but on his side he has Sergeant Patrick Harper, the Portuguese officer Jorge Vincent and a prickly English governess, whose first aim is to clean up Sharpe’s language.

Sharpe’s Escape begins on the great, gaunt ridge of Bussaco where a joint British and Portuguese army meets the overwhelming strength of Marshall Massena’s crack troops. It finishes at Torres Vedras where the French hopes of occupying Portugal quickly die.

This is a classic Sharpe novel, with Richard Sharpe in his finest form reunited with Patrick Harper, and facing enemies on every side.

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

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