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Sharpe's Battle

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Bean VIP

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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject: Sharpe's Battle Reply with quote
I am working my way through the Sharpe series and have just finished Battle.

At first, I thought that it would be very similar to the TV series as the story line appeared to be going along the same lines but the second part is quite different.

It does make me laugh though when I read Sharpe books, as he seems to be able to wander around the war taking part in whichever battle he wants to. 'On adminisrative duties' Sharpe was able to help Crauford to win the Battle and kill the villain Loup.

Love it just the same.
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Bean VIP

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

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Donnadoobie wrote:
It does make me laugh though when I read Sharpe books, as he seems to be able to wander around the war taking part in whichever battle he wants to. 'On adminisrative duties' Sharpe was able to help Crauford to win the Battle and kill the villain Loup.

Yes, Donna, this starts off like the TV film but then becomes quite radically different and a lot of the characters have the same names but are different too, eg Lord Kiely is sympathetic in the film and dies a hero's death rescuing his wife but in the book he is a drunken good-for-nothing and isn't even married (presumably they added the wife as female love interest for Sharpe in the film). The book is quite dark with Sharpe desperate to redeem himself after the initial disastrous battle at the fort. In fact, there are a lot of battles/fight scenes in the book and it's well done, but not one of my favourites of the series, I have to admit. Although I have to say I always get a thrill when I pick up the book and read the dedication: 'Sharpe's Battle is for Sean Bean'. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
Oh, I'm a sad love-struck woman, I know!!!
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Bean Mistress

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

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey girls. I just finished Battle myself and wrote my review in comparison with the show. Here's a gander

Sharpe’s Battle A Novel Return to Form
By Kristin Battestella

After taking a gander at Bernard Cornwell’s recent Sharpe India trilogy, I received Sharpe’s Battle as a gift and returned to where I left off in the series’ chronology. Though written in 1995, later than the original core of novels, Battle returns Sharpe to 1811 Spain.

As in the telefilm of the same name, Sharpe and Harper must baby sit Lord Kiely and the unwanted and unprepared Royal Irish Company-a gift from the disposed King Ferdinand. Irish and English relations are further disturbed by Kiely’s mistress Juanita, and French Bridagier Loup makes life extremely difficult for Sharpe.

Naturally, the written Sharpe’s Battle differs from the 1995 film in several ways. Lord Kiely is not married in the novel, and just how down and dirty Sharpe gets with Juanita is very tongue and cheek here. We spend more time with General Runciman and Father Skarsfield, and in addition to Irish unrest, we have religious debate as well. I enjoyed the behind the scenes games of Major Ducos and the severity of the written Loup. In addition to strong characters, Cornwell’s writing for Sharpe’s Battle is on form. Battle is dedicated to Sharpe film star Sean Bean, and Cornwell’s return to the writing here is not as lazy and tired as it becomes in other later, seemingly obligated novels. I’ve read Battle out of order from where it belongs between the poor Sharpe’s Fury and the stellar Sharpe’s Company-but it’s not noticeably out of place like 2004’s Escape and 2006’s Fury. We have television Rifleman Harris and Perkins, sure, but they don’t take over from Richard and his latest issues.

I was a little annoyed again by the big final battle conclusion, I have to say. The 350-page book is divided into two parts, but Part 2 comes with 100 pages left. Again, we have a little too lopsided an ending where more random battle action and nameless soldiers take away from Sharpe-who doesn’t have much of a place in the battle anyway. He doesn’t get his showdown with Loup until the last twenty pages! Yes, I love the detail, authenticity, and historical accuracy from Cornwell, but I am very tempted to skip over pages where he has omnipresent action for action’s sake. Why should I care about a random French officer telling a butchering surgeon to shut the hell up? In some ways, the telefilm is more personnel by not showcasing the battle at Fuentes de Onoro. Sharpe is stuck solving everyone’s problems instead of being forced into a personal niche in a big battle.

Sharpe’s Battle goes deeper and delves into more darkness than the eponymous film. It’s not as personal as earlier Sharpe novels, but Battle fills a critical gap in Sharpe’s chronology. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy. My only trouble is what to read next!
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Bean Adolescent

Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 158
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
In some of the editions there's a forward by Bernard Cornwell explaining that he wrote this story for the TV series, but they couldn't wait for him to finish it - hence the episode follows the first part of the part quite closely, but had a different ending - not covering the main battle. This suits TV, as they never had the kind of funding needed to cover major battles convincingly - although they did a brilliant job on Waterloo, considering the restrictions. (On the other hand, the token effort to portray Vitoria at the end of 'Honour' is really funny!)
I think the book was better than the episode when it came to a 'love interest'. No Lady Kiely needed - Sharpe just shags Juanita!

I don't agree about the end of the book. That description of how the cut off brigade saved itself by retreating alternately in in squares and columns over miles of territory by using iron discipline to see off the cavalry and artillery attacks is brilliant - and Sharpe's men are in this to good effect. I find long battle descriptions tedious too, but Cornwell is a master at finding the human element, and so he keeps my interest.
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