The latest book in the brilliant, bestselling Sharpe series brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper. It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls. Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they have to find the missing girl and extricate themselves from the entanglements cast by Colonel Christopher, a mysterious Englishman who has his own ideas on how the French can be ejected from Portugal. Those ideas are as fantastic as they are dangerous, but the French are rampant, Lisbon is threatened and Christopher sees Sharpe and his riflemen as the only obstacles to his subtle scheme. But there is a newly arrived British commander in Lisbon, Sir Arthur Wellesley, and just when Sharpe and his men seem doomed, Sir Arthur mounts his own counter-attack, an operation that will send the French army reeling back into the northern mountains. Sharpe becomes a hunter instead of the hunted and he will exercise a dreadful revenge on the men who double-crossed him. Sharpe's Havoc is a classic Sharpe story, a return to Portugal in the company of Sergeant Patrick Harper, Captain Hogan and Sharpe's beloved Greenjackets, who can turn a battle as fast as Cornwell's readers can turn a page.
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Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC Television for seven years, mostly as a producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television's Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.From Publishers Weekly:
Sharpe fans who may have worried that Cornwell's popular series was drawing to a close can heave a sigh of relief-the 19th entry (after 2002's Sharpe's Prey) brings the up-from-the-ranks rifleman back to the Peninsular War where the series began, among such familiar comrades-in-arms as Sergeant Harper and the "old poacher" Dan Hagman. In the treacherous villain role without which no Sharpe adventure would be complete, the Shakespeare-quoting Colonel Christopher plays both sides of the fence in an effort to contrive a peace between the warring parties that will leave him a rich man. But Christopher hasn't reckoned with the new British commander, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, who arrives in time to catch Marshal Soult's invading army by surprise. Meanwhile, Sharpe and his men, cut off in a Portuguese village, hold off superior French forces with the aid of Lieutenant Vicente, a Portuguese lawyer, poet and philosopher turned soldier. Sharpe's antilawyer barbs, as well as some later banter about the troubled relations between the English and Irish and between the Spanish and Portuguese, provide comic relief, while Kate Savage, a naive 19-year-old Englishwoman seduced by Christopher, lends relatively minor romantic interest. A delicious scene at Wellesley's headquarters, in which Sharpe has to account for his seemingly inactive role, will please aficionados, as will the ringing words with which Cornwell closes his customary afterword on the historical background: "So Sharpe and Harper will march again."
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