Bestselling historical novelist Bernard Cornwell returns to the battlefields of the Iberian Peninsula with Sharpe's Havoc, where the lieutenant and his men bravely fight the French invasion into Portugal.
It is 1809, a few years after Lieutenant Richard Sharpe's heroic exploits on the battlefields of India and at Trafalgar, and Sharpe finds himself fighting the savage armies of Napoleon Bonaparte as they try to bring the whole of the Iberian Peninsula under their control. Napoleon is advancing fast in northern Portugal, and no one knows whether the small contingent of British troops stationed in Lisbon will stay to fight or sail back to England. Sharpe, however, does not have a choice: He and his squad of riflemen are on the lookout for the missing daughter of an English wine shipper, when the French onslaught begins and the city of Oporto becomes a setting for carnage and disaster.
Stranded behind enemy lines, Sharpe returns to his mission to find Kate Savage. Sharpe's position on enemy grounds is precarious, and his search is further complicated by a mysterious and threatening Englishman, Colonel Christopher, who has his own ideas on how the French can be driven from Portugal. Christopher's scheme is dangerous, and Sharpe and his Riflemen are the only obstacles standing in his way. Suddenly, a newly arrived British commander in Lisbon, Sir Arthur Wellesley, unknowingly comes to Sharpe's rescue. Just when Sharpe and his men seem doomed, Sir Arthur mounts his own counterattack, an operation of breathtaking daring that will send Marshal Soult's army reeling back into the northern mountains.
Sharpe's Havoc is a classic Sharpe story, based on real history, and a return to Portugal in the company of Sergeant Patrick Harper, Captain Hogan, and Sharpe's beloved Green-jackets, who can turn a battle as fast as Cornwell's readers can turn a page.
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Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed Richard Sharpe series, set during the Napoleonic Wars; the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles, about American Civil War; the Warlord Trilogy, about Arthurian England; and, most recently, Stonehenge 2000 B.C.: A Novel and The Archer's Tale. Mr. Cornwell lives with his wife on Cape Cod.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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