Friday 27 May 2022

Sharpe's Assassin: by Bernard Cornwell

Fictional Drama / Series / Military
Paris, France

Richard Sharpe and the Occupation of Paris, 1815
“Sharpe is back.
And the one man you want on your side.
Sharpe's assassin is the brand-new novel in the bestselling historical series that has sold more than twenty million copies worldwide.”

The blurb [above] on  Amazon is brief, but readers, and lovers of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series do not need much more information – to know there is another, new, adventure for our derring-do hero is all we need to know.

Sharpe fans have followed him from the lowest depths to the highest rank through most of the British Empire’s important battles. Through fights in India and Spain and France during the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe and his motley crew of Rifles with their famous green jackets. 

With Napoleon defeated, what more is there for Sharpe to do? It seems – plenty!

Sharpe has a wife and child and is enjoying the peace of his Normandy farm, but Duke Wellington has not forgotten him, and does not hesitate to make use of him when he is needed – this time, in Paris.

The aftermath of war leaves upheaval, Paris is restless. Sharpe’s task is to find those of Napoleon’s supporters, the determined assassins who are bent on taking revenge. And all Sharpe has to do is stay alive. If he can.

Cornwell, as always, recreates his locations with utmost authority. We steal along the fouled, stinking streets of the underbelly of Paris with Sharpe and his men. We are there, feeling the despair of the defeated, ever alert for  the dangers, fighting step-by-step along with our hero who must use all his skill and knowledge to win through. Of course, as you read, you know that he is going to survive. This is Richard Sharpe after all; you would not expect anything else. But Cornwell writes so well, so vividly, that you cannot take anything for granted, you have your doubts. Maybe this time Richard’s luck will run out...

I enjoyed Cornwell’s other various series, but I do have to say that what he does best is Sharpe. And this one is no exception.

My only grumble, as always, is the high price of the e-book. £7.99 (at the time of writing this) while the hardback on Amazon is £10. £2 difference, yet there is no paper or printing involved with e-books. So what are we paying for? The editing is the same, the formatting is a one-off task as is the uploading to the buying platforms. E-books should not cost almost as much as their paper equivalents. It really is time that mainstream publishers started realising this fact. So 5 stars, but not a reviewer's choice because of this.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Helen Hollick
 e-version reviewed

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