SHARPE'S TRAFALGAR by Bernard Cornwell
HarperCollins , 2001
Ensign Richard Starke is leaving India to return to the England that holds few positive memories for him. To get there, however, he has to undertake a long sea journey halfway around the world. The journey is dangerous enough with Indian traders who attempt to rob him blind, French ships of the line ready to pounce on British merchant ships at a moment's notice, and the terrible and bloody battle of Trafalgar at the end. Worse, Sharpe has to put up with a Lord who despises anyone not from his social set and the Lord's wife who looks at Sharpe with contempt, yet who Sharpe can't help fixating on.
Fans of Napoleonic fiction have another winner on their hands. Sharpe is a man's man--brave without really thinking about it, protective of women where it meets his needs, and able to turn any adversity into advantage. Although Sharpe is a soldier rather than a sailor, most of SHARPE'S TRAFALGAR takes place on the seas--Trafalgar, arguably the most important battle since the destruction of the Spanish Armada, is just too rich a story to miss.
Author Bernard Cornwell makes the early-nineteenth century ships feel and smell real with his vivid descriptions of the odor, sound, and sight of these massive sailing vessels. His account of Admiral Nelson rings with authenticity and the quick and easy friendship between men who believe they may die at a moment's notice is spot-on.
SHARPE'S TRAFALGAR is pure military escapism. If you enjoy the Hornblower (C.S. Forester) or Autry (O'Brien) series, the SHARPE series will be a welcome addition to your library.
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