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Sharpe's Escape [Hardcover]

Bernard Cornwell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2004
Sharpe's Escape takes place in the summer of 1810, once again in the Peninsular War. The French are mounting their third and most dangerous invasion of Portugal. Captain Richard Sharpe with his company of redcoats and riflemen meets the invaders on the gaunt ridge of Bussaco. But there, despite a stunning British victory, the French are not stopped and the army have to fall back. Sharpe has made enemies among the Portuguese and during the retreat through Coimbra, he and Sergeant Harper are lured into a trap designed to kill them. With the help of an Englishwoman, Sharpe survives, but is cut off from the army. He has to rejoin his regiment if the command is not to fall to the ambitious Lieutenant Slinbsby. At the Lines of Torres Vedras, the vast defences built to stop the French before Lisbon, Sharpe confronts his enemies in a climactic battle.

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From Publishers Weekly

"So Sharpe and Harper will march again." Thus ended Sharpe's Havoc, the previous (19th) volume in Cornwell's series, and Sharpe aficionados will rejoice that the prophecy has been fulfilled. In September of 1810, just before repulsing the French army on the bare slopes of Bussaco ridge in central Portugal, Captain Sharpe is forced to take Lieutenant Slingsby, Colonel Lawford's arrogant, heavy-drinking brother-in-law, under his wing. Sharpe then stumbles into a confrontation with Ferragus, the malevolent brother of their treacherous Portuguese ally, Major Ferreira, whom he catches illegally hoarding flour to sell to the enemy. Sharpe is soon ambushed by the cowardly Ferragus and barely escapes with his life. The much abused captain is further humiliated when, despite Slingsby's poor performance at Bussaco, Lawford puts him in charge of the troops, then has the effrontery to reprimand Sharpe for refusing to apologize for insulting the fool. When the French find a way to flank them, the British retreat through Coimbra, where Sharpe and Harper, Sharpe's right-hand man, find themselves lured into a trap. Sharpe's old friend, Portuguese captain Vicente, and a young English governess come to Sharpe's rescue just in time for Sharpe to save his battalion, exacting retribution on his enemies in a resoundingly satisfactory denouement. With fully fleshed-out characters and keen human insight, Cornwell just keeps getting better. His faithful will be left hoping Sharpe goes on forever.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Captain Richard Sharpe, the inveterate self-made British soldier, returns in another thrilling adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars. As usual, Sharpe, a former private, is less than prudent when he thumbs his nose at authority to protect his beloved company from the unskilled officer he is assigned to train. Stationed in Portugal during the French invasion of 1810, Sharpe and his men fight valiantly to prevent further incursions by the despised "Frogs." In addition to repelling the enemy, Richard must also do battle with the dangerously underqualified Lieutenant Cornelius Slingsby, a newly minted officer protected by a convoluted kinship to Sharpe's commanding officer, Colonel Lawson. After gallantly prevailing on the treacherous ridge of Bussaco, Sharpe is busted down to quartermaster for refusing to apologize for insulting the incompetent Slingsby during the height of the conflict. But eventually the wily Sharpe saves his troops from certain annihilation under the command of the incompetent and inebriated Slingsby. The boffo battle scenes will appeal to an audience primed for epic military history by the success of the film version of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander (1969). Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A RICHLY ASSURED READING July 15 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Those who may have seen the Broadway revival of "The Crucible" in the early 1990s surely well remember the riveting performance of Patrick Tull. He brings that same rich assurance to his reading of "Sharpe's Escape." By now, thanks to Cornwell's popular Sharpe Series, Captain Richard Sharpe has become an iconic figure in the military history genre - larger than life. That's a difficult voice to capture, yet the gifted Tull does it to perfection.
As we've come to know Sharpe has a bit of trouble with authority, especially when he sees the incompetence of some of his so-called superiors. It is now 1810; Napoleon wants Portugal and the British beaten into retreat.
Facing Napoleon's largest army is one thing but Sharpe is also besieged from within, losing his command to an inept British officer with very proper family connections. Further, two cowardly, conniving Portugese brothers plan to become friends with the French in the hopes of profiting should Portugal fall to France.
When Sharpe steps in to foil their plan he puts his life on the line. Ferragus, the cruelest of the brothers, devises a trap to kill Sharpe.
Those with a love for military adventure and over the top battles will not want to miss a word of "Sharpe's Escape."
- Gail Cooke
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Exciting Read Oct. 22 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have now read about half a dozen Sharpe novels, and this has to be the best I have read so far. Cornwell has definitely mastered his style with this one. I especially enjoyed the character and plot developments that parallel each other in the second half of the book, beautifully coming together in a climax at end. However, I must say that Cornwell's vivid descriptions of the butchery of 18th Century battlefields were at times a little bit too detailed for my own taste - not for the faint of heart. My only disapointment with this book was the development of the Colonel Lawford character, which to me did not seem quite in line with we had come to learn about this character in the previous novels I read. But this is a minor point. I do recommend this series to anyone interested in historical fiction - You are in for a treat!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Sharpe at his best Oct. 19 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've always enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's style of writing because he has the great skill of not just telling a story but allowing you, the reader, to reside within that story. His ability to build the characters, develop the scenes, marry the dialogue and the storyline in such a manner as to build this virtual historical reality in the minds of his readers is second to none. Sharpe's Escape continues this tradition in fine Richard Sharpe form and I would rate this as one of Bernard Cornwell's better Sharpe books.
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