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Sharpe's Fury ** Spoilers**

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:35 am    Post subject: Sharpe's Fury ** Spoilers** Reply with quote
( borrowed from Barnes and Noble .com)
For more than twenty years, Richard Sharpe, the brave and dashing officer who rose from rags on the street to a commission in his majesty's army, has been thrilling audiences on both the page and on screen. Now the incomparable Bernard Cornwell ("the greatest writer of historical novels today"*) returns with a thrilling new installment—the first new Sharpe novel in more than two years.

The year is 1811. With the British army penned into a small part of Portugal, and all of Spain fallen to the invader except for the coastal city of Cádiz, the French appear to have won their war. Captain Richard Sharpe has no business being in Cádiz, but when an attack on a French-held bridge goes disastrously wrong, Sharpe—accompanied by Harper, his loyal Irish sergeant, and the obnoxious Brigadier Moon—finds himself in a city under French siege. It is also a town riven by political rivalry. Some Spaniards believe their country's future would be best served if they broke their alliance with Britain and forged a friendship with Napoléon's France; their cause is only strengthened when some letters written to a prostitute by the British ambassador fall into their possession. They resort to blackmail, and Sharpe, raised in the gutters of London and taught to fight, is released into the alleys of Cádiz to find the woman and retrieve the letters.

Yet defeating the blackmailers will not save the city. That is up to the charismatic Scotsman, Sir Thomas Graham, who takes a small British force o attack the French siege lines. The attack goes horribly wrong; Sir Thomas's outnumbered army is trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea, and on a Marchmorning, at Barrosa, Richard Sharpe finds himself embroiled in one of the most desperate infantry struggles ever fought. Sir Thomas has his own reasons for revenge, as does Sharpe, who goes into battle seeking the French colonel who precipitated the disaster that stranded Sharpe in Cádiz. In a bloody and stirring battle, Sharpe and the English get their revenge and their victory, but at a terrible cost. A triumph of both historical and battle fiction, Sharpe's Fury will sweep both old and new Sharpe fans into their hero's incredible adventures.

I loved this book. I am currently working my way through the entire series cronologically. I love the devil may care attitude Richard has towards almost everyone. Yet he is still calculating, knowing exactly which button to push when. I'm very glad Cornwell added in the historical taking of the eagle into this one. In reality this battle was the first eagle captured, not Talavera.
The best part of it all is the historical notes in the end. Its almost as if Richard Sharpe were a real man.
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Bean VIP

Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 2355
Location: Over The Hills

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very Happy I do like that Book. One of my favorite Sharpe's. Beranad Cornwell is an excellent writer and has created a Character that does come off the pages.

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Bean VIP

Joined: 02 Nov 2007
Posts: 3371
Location: Czech Republic

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Indeed, this book shows events that would remained hidden - and in an excellent way! And an excelent review, Gimmie, thank you !
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Bean's Mac

Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 5524
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I liked this book, too! Gimmie, thanks for the review! Laughing

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You're welcome. I hope to add more as I work my way, slowly through the rest of the series.
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Bean VIP

Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 1972
Location: Norfolk, England

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I really enjoyed this book and introduced me to a new strand of the Peninsular war that I knew nothing about!
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Bean VIP

Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 2360
Location: Sussex, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I thought this was a great book, one of my favourites of the series, full of all the sorts of good stuff we hope to get when we read a Sharpe novel. Lots of fighting and good battle scenes but also masses of plot with all the politics and shenanigans going on in Cadiz. I thought it was great fun and almost like a thriller, with some wonderful characters like the doughty Sir Thomas Graham, the awful Brigadier Moon, the lovely Henry Wellesley and the welcome return of the outrageous Lord Pumphrey who is always excellent value!!! And of course the beautiful Caterina (it's always nice when Richard gets some non-battlefield action!). And Sharpe proves himself to be particularly clever and brave in this book which is of course wonderful!! Very Happy Very Happy
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Bean Mistress

Joined: 11 Feb 2008
Posts: 758
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Am I the only gal who thought this was one of the low points of the Sharpe novels? I thought Cornwell was all over the place, uneven and misusing Sharpe.

Here's my review from when I read it a few months back. Much as I gripe, I'm not stopping the series. I just got Regiment and Battle books for Christmas!

Disappointed With Sharpe’s Fury

By Kristin Battestella

After all my Sharpe praise, I was a bit surprised by my dislike of Bernard Cornwell’s twenty first novel in the series, Sharpe’s Fury. By spending too much time on action and silly politics in the Peninsula War in 1811, Cornwall misses the mark.

After a prequel trilogy set in India, 2006’s Sharpe’s Fury returns the series to a gap in 1811. After being wounded by French Colonel Vandal, Sharpe has to put up with new Brigadier General Moon while recuperating in Cadiz. Sharpe and his riflemen are recruited by Britain’s Ambassador to Spain, Henry Wellesley, to clean up his adulterous scandal with a prostitute named Caterina. When Sharpe befriends garrison commander Sit Thomas Graham, he sets his sights on joining Graham’s campaign at Barrosa, hoping the battle will bring him close enough to take revenge on Vandal.

The biggest problem I have with Sharpe’s Fury is the misleading title. There actually isn’t very much Sharpe to be had, much less a furious Sharpe. Cornwell opens with a murderous Spanish priest. Not only have we seen this type in Sharpe before, Cornwell has to begin his story twice. I enjoyed the early chapters with Sharpe trapped on a wild Spanish river with Moon, but this adventure is abandoned for undercover operations in Cadiz. We never find out who the spy at the British headquarters is, we get one sentence of the crooked Spanish Admiral’s fate (I can’t even remember his name or find it online!), and it’s silly, but the book doesn’t end with the titular words as Sharpe traditionally has.

I enjoyed Richard Sharpe’s cloak and dagger work in Cadiz, but it seems as if we get three separate stories for the book’s three parts. Each one could have taken its time as one novel, but the battle of Barrossa does not play as a Sharpe battle, and its not even Cornwell’s best action writing. I had to keep looking at the maps in the front of the book to figure out who was who and where they were. We jump from theatre to theatre, hopping between the viewpoints of Graham, Browne, even French Marshal Victor for the last twenty pages. Every ten pages, we break the battle for a page of banter with Sharpe and Harper (and television add ins Harris and Perkins) walking along the beach, then its back to battle. A hundred pages of a battle in which Sharpe is not involved! And when he does finally arrive, the battle view still isn’t from his vantage. We get a lovely and detailed triumphant charge by the British, and I found myself asking, did Sharpe charge? Sharpe talks about being a soldier and doing what he does best, but we don’t get to see him do it, much less be angry and furious about it.

I prefer character driven novels. If I wanted to read about historical battles, I’d pick up a nonfiction Napoleonic book. We don’t have an epilogue in Sharpe’s Fury. It ends very abruptly, and Cornwell’s closing historical note admits he couldn’t resist indulging himself by having Sharpe in Cadiz. As a Hornblower fan, I find it ironic that with Sharpe’s Fury, there is now exactly twice as many Sharpe novels as there are Hornblower books. It’s as if Cornwell had contractual or writing obligations to complete Fury. If this were a first novel, I suspect Sharpe’s Fury would have a tough time finding a home or editor. Cornwell’s slipped into some very lazy writing here. “The Woman was… The soldier was…It was called Cerro de Busca, but he didn’t know that yet.” Instead of being in Richard Sharpe’s head with his thoughts and feelings and fury, I spent the last few weeks reading a historical tour guide from Cornwell.

Normally I feel sad when finishing a Sharpe novel and can’t wait to get the next book. Fury, however, seems to have lost its audience; I bought the audio book for $3, the hardback for $5. I was kicking myself when I saw the paperback for $2 in the Borders bargain bin. I heartily enjoyed the original Sharpe books: Eagle, Gold, Sword, Company, Enemy, Honour. But Cornwell has done the series a disservice by filling in his cannon with newer tales like Escape and Fury.

Sharpe is Sharpe and I will continue to read the series until I’m done, but I read because I like Richard Sharpe and his predicaments, not to be impressed by historical writing. Sharpe’s Fury has too much Cornwell and as I was struggling to finish I kept asking, “Where’s Richard Sharpe?” It was a disappointing read, and I have to take a break before I return to reading older, proper Sharpe novels.

I was actually a bit harsh. I'm never harsh!

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Bean VIP

Joined: 02 Aug 2007
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Location: Inside the Beltway

PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Kristin for the review- I'll have to read Fury again. Can't remember the particulars now.

I was re-reading Sharpe's Story recently and remember that Cornwell said he visited Barrossa because he found himself near, and then decided he had to write about it and put Sharpe in it somehow.

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