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With a very long road trip to come I needed something as near to guaranteed to be a good listen as I could find. This of course leaves a very short list of authors and characters and George Cornwell’s Sharpe is one of very few that fit the bill. In fact I have quite deliberately taken my time to go back to this series because it is simply that good and I want to savour it.
This one is a bit different from the previous three of course as Sharpe leaves India to begin his journey home and start his new career with the Rifles. It does take a little time to get to the real action but the story is entertaining and throughout Cornwell demonstrates that he is just as capable at naval fiction as he is at everything else!
The triumph of this book though is that when the action starts it is heart stopping stuff. Trafalgar will always be one of the most iconic of naval battles and Nelson one of this Island’s most feted heroes. These are not subjects to be trifled with but with Cornwell in charge you can feel the spray on your face, taste the blood in your mouth and smell the powder smoke in the air. The tactics deployed in the battle required every man to do more than his duty, it was a terrifyingly novel approach to fleet warfare and all of it gets its full due. This has to be one of the finest battles in modern literature and Sharpe is inserted into the overall picture deftly.
Of course this is Sharpe so he’s never content with having just say the French and Spanish to fight, he makes other enemies closer to home and yes of course there is a lady for him to pursue.
Rupert Farley brings it all to life for us with his usual excellence and by the end of the book I was happy to have experienced another masterpiece from George Cornwell. My biggest issue with this series is to resist buying all of it and running away to a dark room somewhere until it is finished!
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