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Sharpe's Command: The latest thrilling adventure from the best-selling master of historical fiction, the perfect gift for Christmas 2023

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Richard Sharpe and his gang are back in Spain during the Penninsular War, killing Frenchmen and their allies.

A bridge at Almaraz is a key link between two French armies and destroying it will be a key factor to enable British success. Bernard Cornwell’s latest (2023) Sharpe adventure Sharpe’s Command places our hero at the battle of the Bridge at Almaraz, 1812 – as usual, based on historical events. He studied at London University before joining the BBC, where he became the head of current affairs television in Northern Ireland. Cornwall avoids this problem in Sharpe's Command by locating the story back in Sharpe's late 30s (1812). Lastly, the historical narrative in play for this one too is very lean, covering just weeks in the peninsular war and rounded out with a half-baked antagonist.Captain Richard Sharpe of the 95th Rifle Brigade is the central character in this story and he’s certainly a determined and innovative character. Douglas Smith was born in New York City and attended the Rhode Island School of Design, earning his BFA in Illustration in 1974, having also studied sculpture, painting and printmaking.

Bernard Cornwell brings all his considerable descriptive skill to bear on the infamous Battle of Assaye, described by General Arthur Wellesley himself as the battle of which he was most proud. Okay this has full on ignited my Napoleonic interest again - a by-product of my roman empire being the French Revolution. A great Sharpe book, thoroughly enjoyed the read, and all the great characters, really cannot get past visualising the characters from the TV series. And the impossible is exactly what the formidable Major Sharpe is asked to do when he’s dispatched on an undercover mission behind enemy lines, deep in the Spanish countryside.

As other reviewers have mentioned Sharpe is either addressed as Major or captain sometimes by the same person during the same conversation. Needless to say, he triumphs after a number of setbacks, this time aided by his wife Teresa and her guerrillas. At the end of the book the author says that he will march again, so I wonder just what actions are left! The colour frontispiece and black-and-white scratchboard illustrations capture Sharpe in the midst of the conflict, blood flying from his sabre as he fights for his life.

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