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Sharpe's Command: The latest thrilling adventure from the best-selling master of historical fiction, the perfect gift for Christmas 2023

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After publishing eight books in his ongoing Sharpe series, Cornwell was approached by a production company interested in adapting them for television.

Douglas Smith, who provided the stirring illustrations for Sharpe’s Tiger, has once again created a series of images that are as filled with heart-stopping action and eagle-eyed details as the books themselves. Poor old Richard Sharpe gets to fight in what seems to be every action in the Peninsular War and into France (and there are the pre-sequel and post-sequel books too). If you enjoyed any of the previous Sharpe books I think you would like this book and if you have never read any of Bernard Cornwell’s books and are a fan of Military Historical Fiction then I would recommend this series. He went on to tell the story of Badajoz in his third Sharpe novel, Sharpe's Company, published in 1982. It's one of the breezier Sharpe books at 300 pages, and I enjoyed the laser focus on a single clear mission with a fun fictional French-sympathizing Spanish villain getting in Sharpe's way as he's trying to fulfill his reconnoissance task ahead of the attack.If you haven't read the Sharpe series, you've got to go back and read the preceding 22 to get caught up.

Don't get me wrong, this is as enjoyable as any other book by Cornwell, but you have to wonder why we're going back into earlier times. Sharpe has to deal with an informant to the French, who would probably squeal on his mother for gold bits. Born in the gutter, raised a foundling, he joined the army twenty-one years ago, and it’s been his home ever since. Yes, the old favourites were back, Teresa, Hogan, Dan and Harris, but we’ve all been here before and I’m sure we were all wanted a new and exciting adventure, alas, it’s a rehash of old.

Richard Sharpe, the most brilliant – but the most wayward – soldier in the British army, finds himself faced with an impossible task. After several years of Cornwell devoting all his time to all things Uthred, we finally get back to Rifleman Richard Sharpe.

No great bad guys or major twists but it is always nice to have more Sharpe, even if the author is slightly off his game with this one. They’re tons of fun and you don’t have to switch your brain on too much while reading/watching them. We have to fight them off ourselves,’ he said, and wondered if he would have done better to have stayed in the church.

And only Sharpe – with just his cunning, his courage and a small band of rogues to rely on – stands in their way .

There is one new character, though how close to the historical person the portrayal is I don't know: Lieutenant "Cupid" Love. Granted, this is the first Peninsular War adventure we've had since 2006, so mistakes on Cornwell's part are bound to happen.Also surely siege ladders are likely cut and measured near and well within sight of a Fort and not dragged for miles on a march.

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