Major Sharpe, in the bitter winter, must attempt a desperate rescue and face his most implacable enemy.
Newly promoted, he is given the task of rescuing a group of well-born women, held hostage high in the mountains by a rabble of deserters. And one of the renegades is Sergeant Hakeswill, Sharpe’s bitter enemy.
Sharpe has only the support of his own company and the new Rocket Troop – the last word in military incompetence – but he cannot afford to contemplate defeat. For to surrender or to fail would mean the end of the war for the Allied armies…
Soldier, hero, rogue – Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.
‘Sharpe and his creator are national treasures.' Sunday Telegraph
'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.’ George R.R. Martin
About the author
Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television’s Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.
Another excellent episode in the series
This is up there with the best in this series of books about Richard Sharpe. The atmosphere and storytelling are good enough that I can shiver from reading this winter tale even though it is the middle of summer here now. The flow of the book is quite fast with few, if any, slow moments in the telling. Many of the favourite characters are featured including two of Sharpe's women - Josefina and Teresa; while regular baddies like Hakeswill and Major Ducos play a significant part. Much less for Wellesley and Hogan in this one, probably because the story is more fictional rather than based on a true battle. The descriptions of battle horror are enough to make me thankful for not being there as always. Being outnumbered seems to be a continuing theme in this series but if there is any criticism of the story it is only in the believability - in this case the numbers are fairly absurd and require quite a leap of faith in the reader.
My main criticism is reserved for publishers HarperCollins who should be ashamed at the lack of proof-reading. There are multiple scanning errors (Are instead of fire; Up instead of lip; bum instead of burn). Some errors are inevitable but here they occur at the rate of almost one per page in places. That is significant enough to interrupt the reading flow and spoiled the book a bit for me. Hence 4 stars instead of 5 and pours scorn on this ebook costing more than the paperback which it did on the day I purchased it.