SHARPE'S SWORD by Bernard Cornwell

SHARPE'S SWORD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Captain Richard Sharpe returns, still fighting for Wellington against Napoleon in 1812 Spain; and this fourth sturdy outing features a neat spy-plot along with the grisly battles and swaggering camaraderie. The setting is the charming old university-town of Salamanca, where the British are in temporary control--while the French armies loom on the outskirts, with some French forces holed up in three Salamanca fortresses. And, though regular combat duties arise now and then, Sharpe's primary mission (ordered by "the Peer" personally) is to find and kill Napoleon's super-spy Leroux, who--if not eliminated--will kill Britain's local super-spy: an anonymous agent code-named "El Mirador." Where is Leroux hiding? Well, he's probably in one of those fortresses. So Sharpe is determined to break down each of those fortress defenses--especially since he has personal, vengeance/love reasons for tracking Leroux down: the Frenchman dishonorably escaped from Sharpe once already, you see, killing a fine British soldier in the process; and Sharpe passionately wants to protect the life of "Mirador," now that his new mistress, the beautiful Spanish/English Marquesa Helena, has revealed to him that she is Mirador. The wily Leroux, however, manages to elude Sharpe's attack yet again (disguising himself as a corpse), near-fatally wounding the brave Captain. And by the time Sharpe has recovered well enough for the big Battle of Salamanca--and a sword-to-sword showdown with Leroux--he realizes that a local Irish professor isn't (as he thought) a French spy. . . and that someone else is. Plenty of musket/whistle/ bayonet action, as usual, but the spying (with character twists) and the Salamanca scenery are the pleasing extras this time--as one of the better period-military series marches on smartly.
Pub Date: June 1st, 1983
ISBN: 0007461755
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1983




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