Although I enjoy history and historical novels, I've never particularly cared for military history. But as anyone who has enjoyed the "Sharpe" television (& video) series will attest, there's so much more to these stories than mere military history. This is the first Bernard Cornwell novel I've read, and it certainly won't be the last. Without a doubt, fans of the show will not be disappointed with this novel; in fact, it is a must-read as it is the very last Sharpe novel, and it has not been dramatized (so far).
As for the story (without giving anything away--this is all in the prologue), it is 1820 and Sharpe & Harper are reunited for an expedition to Chile in search of an old friend. En route, they visit St. Helena and have the honour of meeting the imprisoned Napoleon, who entreats Sharpe to convey a gift to an admirer in Chile.
This novel is an absolute page-turner, and Cornwell is truly a master storyteller. Suffice it to say that no knowledge of military tactics or manoeuvres is necessary in order to fully enjoy this gem of a novel. Any action or suspense is seasoned with liberal doses of humour, and there is a most delightful array of entertaining characters. Lastly, the story is made all the more memorable by the historical afterword.
This novel is sure to please. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a thrilling, action-packed read, and particularly to aficionados of historical fiction.