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Sharpe's Company: Siege of Badajoz, January to April 1812 Paperback – Aug 1 1987

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books; New edition edition (Aug. 1 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006165737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006165736
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #386,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Brilliant... Sharpe is a great creation" -- Daily Mirror

About the Author

Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

"Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels." The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

Today he has 20 Sharpe adventures behind him, plus a series about the American Civil War, the Starbuck novels; an enormously successful trilogy about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles; the Hundred Years War set Grail Quest series; and his current series about King Alfred.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

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Format: Paperback
Sharpe! Sharpe! Sharpe!

I encourage you to read these books in order of the chronology of the events, rather than the order in which they are written. If you've been doing that, you've probably wondered whatever happened to Sergeant Obadiah ("I can't be killed") Hakeswill who we last read about in India. In Sharpe's Company, this spawn of the underworld returns to cause lots of mischief.

Viscount Wellington is still leading the allied forces in the Peninsula, having secured Portugal. In Sharpe's Company, two fortresses bar the way into Napoleon's Spain, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. Naturally, Sharpe plays a key role in both battles. In this book, you get two sieges for the price of one.

The love story is much stronger here than usual in the series as the female partisan leader from Sharpe's Gold, Teresa, makes an important return appearance. In the process, Sharpe learns he has become a father . . . and his daughter is being cared for in Badajoz.

Sharpe's career also takes a turn for the worse. The temporary captaincy comes to an end, and he's reduced in rank to lieutenant reporting to a new captain who isn't as decisive as he might be. Hakeswill is soon undermining everyone to put himself to an advantage, and Sharpe's morale plummets while his hatred of Hakeswill grows.

Sharpe also comes to resent that he cannot become a permanent captain and toys with the idea of leading a Forlorn Hope into the breach to gain such a promotion.

The story's ending may turn your stomach more than a little as Mr. Cornwell treats us to a pretty graphic description of the sack of Badajoz by the British and Portuguese. It may be more historical realism than you really want to know about.
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Format: Paperback
This 1813-set entry in the Napoleonic War series finds Sharpe once again battling two of his most formidable foes: bureaucracy and the thoroughly evil Sgt. Hakeswill, the man responsible for his flogging in India a decade previously. The first of these battles is a foregone conclusion, as the Horse Guards finally reject Sharpe's battlefield commission to Captain, and he is reassigned away from his company as a Lieutenant. The depression this brings about is further exacerbated by the installation of Sgt. Hakeswill in Sharpe's old company. Early on, Sharpe has a chance to kill his legendarily unkillable enemy, but chooses not to and lets him go, saying that he prefers to do so in the sight of 1,000 men, so that everyone knows the deed is done. It's one of the unlikelier plot justifications of the series, made all the more annoying by the long-term implications of that decision. The story continues with Sharpe trying to figure out how to regain a Captaincy, while dealing with the schemes of Hakeswill. This is all set against the backdrop of the siege at the fortress of Badajoz. Cornwell excels at imparting the technical and murderous side of siege warfare at the time, while remaining entertaining. His descriptions of trench-digging, shelling, and futile charges against overwhelming firepower all eerily foreshadow the horrors of France and Belgium 100 years later. For Sharpe, the storming of the fortress is a test of his courage and pride, a point which Cornwell hammers home almost to the point of parody. To top it all off, Sharpe's lover, the guerilla leader Terressa, is holed up in Badajoz, and Sharpe must race to get to her before raping and looting soldiers do. The post-siege descriptions of wholesale rape are based on historical fact, and are not for the faint of heart (or young), so be warned. Another strong entry in the series.
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By ... on Feb. 27 2003
Format: Paperback
Overall, an excellent novel. I've read many of Sharpe's adventures, and have enjoyed them all. This particular story deals with the siege of Badajoz. It has everything we've come to expect from a Richard Sharpe novel: action, mind-boggling battle scenes, and the occasional romance. My only complaint sounds kinda dumb, even to myself-- the villian, Obadiah Hakeswill. Every so often an author comes up with a villian that he can't bring himself to kill. Even, as in this case, when it goes against all common sense. The character, Sharpe, simply would not allow an enemy to escape as many times as Hakeswill does. I know this is nit-picking, but having some experience in the military, I can safely say that an infantryman does NOT leave an enemy behind him. Not alive, anyway. Okay, enough whining from me. Again, this is an excellent read. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction, action, or military history.
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Format: Paperback
I actually started reading the Sharpe series starting from the India campaign (Cornwell's prequal to the regular Sharpe story) and ol' Obadiah was prevalent throughout. So I have to admit I was a little put off by, what I perceived to be, slight story changes from the prequals that I had read first.
Despite the changes (yes, I know Cornwell wrote the Peninsular War series first!), this was an extremely enjoyable book and I found myself actually yelling at the pages for Sharpe to succeed. I knew he would, but Cornwell has an excellent way of telling a story that pulls the reader into the novel and the next thing you know you're at the end.
My thanks to emilyh for putting together an outstanding chronological history of the Sharpe books. Otherwise I would have been completely lost and not have enjoyed this series as much as I have!
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