Sharpe's Devil by Bernard Cornwell
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A surprisingly sharp-written later novel in the long-running Sharpe series!
Stop, stop...I need to apologize for that horrible previous line.
I didn't expect much from Sharpe's Devil, because the war is over. The very basis for these novels' existence is gone. Napoleon has been defeated and it's time for old soldiers to go home.
That's just where former British Army officer Richard Sharpe is when duty calls yet again. The wife of an estranged friend desperately wants to know what's become of her husband and Sharpe agrees to be her errand boy. And of course his sidekick Patrick Harper comes along too, because why the fuck not.
Okay, so the premise isn't rock solid, but Cornwell's writing is sharp (damn it!), the plot is engaging, the history accurate and the action is on point (just be happy I didn't say "on fleek"). Following history, we're off to Chile, where post-Napoleonic War Spanish and British warmongers are tearing up the country amongst the poor natives.
Many a bored ex-serviceman of the European theater took his talents to South America in the early-ish 19th century in search of gold, power and adventure. Lord Thomas Cochrane, the famous/infamous British naval captain writers like Forester and O'Brian based the heroes of their stories upon, played a big roll in the Chilean rebellion of this era. Cornwell teams Sharpe up with Cochrane and even develops a nice scene with his fictional hero and Napoleon himself. Pretty daring of him to attempt a version of such a famous historical figure! Not only that, but to take Cochrane, use him and then reveal a damning bit of his personal history takes balls!
Perhaps most impressive of all is Cornwell's ability to crank out yet another exciting adventure from a series that by all rights should've been put to rest books ago!
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