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Sharpe's Sword: Richard Sharpe and the Salamanca Campaign, June and July 1812 (#14) [Paperback]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best in the series! May 12 2003
In order of publication, this is the 5th book in the Richard Sharpe series , but the 11th in a "timeline". As such , the author Bernard Cornwell has smoothed out his writing style to give Sharpe a lot more depth of character and a three dimensional aspect lacking in some of the earlier adventures.
In addition to Richard Sharpe ,Major Hogan , Wellington , and Patrick Harper , there are many interesting new characters introduced--La Marquesa (Helena) , Lord Jack Spears , "El Mirador" , and of course a vile villian , Colonel Laroux. All of these characters are artfully blended to achieve an exciting military adventure in which our hero Sharpe is gravely wounded ,and is rescued by his friend Patrick Harper. After being nursed back to health , Sharpe seeks his vengance against the man who wounded him.
The plot of this story involves a possible comprimise of the intelligence network of Major Michael Hogan and the possible exposure of his top agent , the mysterious El Mirador. Colonel Laroux , sent by Napoleon Bonaparte himself to destroy El Mirador , proves to be a ruthless enemy devoid of any honor. To reveal any more than this would indeed compromise the book's enjoyment for the reader , so I'll stop right here.
This volume seems to have it all--excitement,intrigue,romance,and of course the inevitable battle action! Of the 11 volumes I have read in timeline order , this one is right at the top of "my list" along with "Sharpe's Tiger" and "Sharpe's Triumph" for sheer entertainment value and excitement! Five stars and highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe does it again Aug. 24 2001
Why did I like this book?
*Excellent adventure
*Thrilling intrigue
*Exciting military strategies
*Extraordinary camaraderie
*Vicious villains
I don't know pick one...I enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe's Sword". The year is 1812, the location is Salamanca Spain. It is here that General Wellington must battle the French forces for the Western portion of the peninsula. Wellington's goal is to defeat the French, Sharpe's goal is to survive and be with his men. Captain Sharpe finds himself surrounded by spies and treachery, friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Sharpe can only place his trust in his faithful chosen men or in the doughty Major Hogan. Everyone else is suspect. Unlike the other Sharpe books, "Sword" doesn't spend a lot of time with the battles. Sharpe is drawn into a different battle field... the battle field of palace intrigue. Before long Sharpe is sharing the company of the beautiful... and mysterious La Marquesa. He battles the evil Colonel Leroux. Leroux's claim to fame is his usage of torture and cruelty. Along the way Sharpe is shot, lied to and very nearly stabbed by the same sword he covets.
I started with the PBS/BBS series, graduated to the audio tapes and now have read most of the novels. I wholeheartedly endorse the Sharpe series. It's great entertainment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More Intrigue, Less Battle, Still Excellent July 3 2001
By A. Ross
This entry in Corwell's Napoleonic Wars series follows the further exploits of Cpt. Sharpe during the Salamanca Campaign of June and July, 1812. It brings the same ingredients to the tale that can be found in abundance throughout the series: action, intrigue, a beautiful woman, gory battle scenes, and a lethal villain. This time, the villain is a French spymaster keen to discover the identity of England's top spy, "El Mirador," and destroy his network. Although captured at the very beginning, he later manages to escape and elude capture, almost killing Sharpe and Harper along the way. The following scenes of Sharpe's journal through the army medical corps is horrific. Cornwell follows the nastiness with some of the series most sentimental and tender moments, as he shows Harper's devotion in nursing Sharpe back to health. Interwoven is the now-married Sharpe's temptation by the lusciousness of "La Marquessa," a French/Spanish aristocrat at the top of Salamanca's social ladder. Here, Cornwell does exceedingly well at portraying the opulence of the upper crust, and Sharpe's discomfort in mixing with them. Kudos are also due for his seamless insertion of two historically based Irishmen as important supporting characters. Less successful is his sleight of hand at concealing the identity of "El Mirador," which somewhat weakens the enjoyment. The battle scenes take up somewhat less space than in some of the other books, but as always, are nicely done. Another fine entry in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the Sharpe series so far July 18 2002
I have been reading the Sharpe series "mostly in order". Sharpe's Sword, to my taste, was the best so far. Cornwell had really matured as a writer by this time. I would not have expected a description of a near-fatal wound and its effects on a character we absolutely KNOW is going to survive to be so riveting and stirring. As always, Cornwell's closing historical note is like dessert after a fine meal, or perhaps more correctly like the moment where a magician steps back to reveal his secrets -- and you're left more in awe than ever, wondering, "How does he do it?"
I keep lists of the 20 to 40 books I read each year (anal, eh?), and this is the first in years I've given a full 5 stars. (I even forgive Mr. Cornwell now for the only regrettable book in the series so far, "Sharpe's Battle".) Highly recommended.
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