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Sharpe's Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell Unabridged MP3 CD Audiobook

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Unabridged MP3 CD Audiobook ... 11 hours long... Narrated by William Gaminara


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Unabridged MP3 CD Audiobook ... 11 hours long... Narrated by William Gaminara

30 review for Sharpe's Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell Unabridged MP3 CD Audiobook

  1. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    For many, such as myself, who appreciate the novels of Bernard Cornwell, that appreciation began with his novels of Britain during its wars with France that became The Napoleonic Wars. It was Cornwell’s intention to convey British history from the “ground floor” rather than “the eagle’s nest.” To that end, he created the character of Richard Sharpe, a London lad who joins the British Army and starts his career in India. By 1805, Sharpe has risen to the rank of ensign in the 74th Regiment and thi For many, such as myself, who appreciate the novels of Bernard Cornwell, that appreciation began with his novels of Britain during its wars with France that became The Napoleonic Wars. It was Cornwell’s intention to convey British history from the “ground floor” rather than “the eagle’s nest.” To that end, he created the character of Richard Sharpe, a London lad who joins the British Army and starts his career in India. By 1805, Sharpe has risen to the rank of ensign in the 74th Regiment and this book concerns his journey from India back to England in an “Inidanman,” a commercial ship of the British East India Company. Shape is always a man of initiative and courage and this book opens with him being cheated by some Indian chandlers and his determination not to leave before he is made whole. An interesting perspective on the Indian experience: ‘I’ve been five months in India,’ Chase said, ‘but always at sea. Now I’m living ashore for a week, and it stinks. My God, how the place stinks!’ ‘No more than London,’ Sharpe said, which was true, but here the smells were different. Instead of coal fumes there was bullock-dung smoke and the rich odours of spices and sewage. It was a sweet smell, ripe even, but not unpleasant, and Sharpe was thinking back to when he had first arrived and how he had recoiled from the smell that he now thought homely and even enticing. ‘I’ll miss it,’ he admitted. ‘I sometimes wish I wasn’t going back to England.’ Richard Share was a feral London boy before he joined the British army. In the time just before this book, he was sent to India to battle both indigenous peoples and other countries with imperial ambitions. He saves the life of an officer (who later will become Lord Wellington, hero of Waterloo) and is promoted from the ranks to ensign. This is an unusual book for the series because it takes place primarily at sea. Cornwell is not Patrick O’Brian but he does well in his descriptions of life at sea and the roles of those who defend the British Empire as well as those who are “just traveling” with the British Navy or the British East India Company. Class, as well as rank, come in for close scrutiny and Sharpe (of course) is the mirror in which most of these observations are reflected. This is an excellent effort on Cornwell’s part and an excellent description of the Battle of Trafalgar that prevented Napoleon from wresting sea superiority from the Brits and forestalled the Emperor’s plans to invade England. But, this historical novel is beyond that a great entertainment of manners, romance, perfidy, and courage. PS: For those who have come late to Richard Sharpe, the following quote from Trafalgar will give you a sense of his powerful character. Cornwell has devoted a substantial portion of his writing to such characters (see Uhtred of Bebbanburg in The Saxon Tales). “You did not kill men at long range in this kind of fighting, but came as close as a lover before you slaughtered them. To go into that kind of fighting needed a rage, or a madness or a desperation. Some men never found those qualities and they shrank from the danger, and Sharpe could not blame them, for there was little that was admirable in rage, insanity or despair. Yet they were the qualities that drove the fight, and they were fueled by a determination to win. Just that. To beat the bastards down, to prove that the enemy were lesser men. The good soldier was cock of a blood-soaked dunghill, and Richard Sharpe was good.” What may be remarkable is that, over about twenty novels, Cornwell never waivers from this but he adds many facets to Sharpe’s character and makes many of these historical novels memorable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Like a fish out of water, British soldier Richard Sharpe takes to the sea! Seems as if Bernard Cornwell was itching to tackle this most epic of all British naval battles and to do so he manufactured his hero Sharpe into the action. I can't blame him. It's one of the biggest events of the Napoleonic War, and if that's the backdrop to your series it stands to reason you'd want to showcase this particular battle in some way. Sharpe's Trafalgar is one of Cornwell's better efforts writing-wise. Perhap Like a fish out of water, British soldier Richard Sharpe takes to the sea! Seems as if Bernard Cornwell was itching to tackle this most epic of all British naval battles and to do so he manufactured his hero Sharpe into the action. I can't blame him. It's one of the biggest events of the Napoleonic War, and if that's the backdrop to your series it stands to reason you'd want to showcase this particular battle in some way. Sharpe's Trafalgar is one of Cornwell's better efforts writing-wise. Perhaps because he was on unfamiliar ground (or water, I guess), he was probably taking extra care in crafting this book. There are many books in this series that focus on land battles, beautifully and dramatically rendered with historical accuracy. However, after a few books of a similar vein, samey-ness sets in. I don't know if Cornwell rushed them out or if I'm just imagining it because a few them don't have quite the level of craft that this one does. That's not to say they're not enjoyable action-adventure pieces! In Sharpe's Trafalgar you see Sharpe the soldier out of his element as he's thrown into a historical setting which is well-known to many. Hell, in London there's a wide square and huge monument erected in memorial of the battle and its hero. This leaves little wiggle room for the historical-fiction writer to change that landscape. Thus Sharpe, the usually active man of action in the center of it all, is more of a sideline observer here compared to other books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Number 4 in the Sharpe series. As the title implies, this historical fiction is about The Battle of Trafalgar. As luck would have it, Richard Sharpe is on board ship sailing for England, where he has been assigned to the 95th rifles. It's along way from Bombay to London and a lot could and will happen in between departure and destination. Illicit love with a married lady of the gentry. Theft on a grand scale. Turn coat English captains. Last but not least, The Battle of Trafalgar, and Richard Sharpe Number 4 in the Sharpe series. As the title implies, this historical fiction is about The Battle of Trafalgar. As luck would have it, Richard Sharpe is on board ship sailing for England, where he has been assigned to the 95th rifles. It's along way from Bombay to London and a lot could and will happen in between departure and destination. Illicit love with a married lady of the gentry. Theft on a grand scale. Turn coat English captains. Last but not least, The Battle of Trafalgar, and Richard Sharpe is in the thick of it all. The brutality of war at sea is here in all it's awful glory. Along the way we'll meet some memorable characters. Some to hate, some to love and some to inspire. Bernard Cornwell is a master story teller and always writes books that I find hard to put down. Recommended for lovers of historical ripping yarns.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    When I first saw this book, the first thing that came into my mind was the old movie, "The Wackiest Ship in the Army." Sharpe, a soldier, is on a ship in the Indian Ocean. Also on the ship is a Lady, and an old opponent. Pirates come in the picture, and of course, the old opponent helps them take over the ship. Pretty good. It was different seeing an sea-borne adventure from the viewpoint of a landlubber soldier. When I first saw this book, the first thing that came into my mind was the old movie, "The Wackiest Ship in the Army." Sharpe, a soldier, is on a ship in the Indian Ocean. Also on the ship is a Lady, and an old opponent. Pirates come in the picture, and of course, the old opponent helps them take over the ship. Pretty good. It was different seeing an sea-borne adventure from the viewpoint of a landlubber soldier.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    Read this book in 2006, and its the 4th part, chronologically, of the great Richard Sharpe series. In this novel Richard Sharpe, is aboard a ship returning home to London after the India campaign, to join the Green Jackets of the 95th Rifles. Sailing with the Royal Navy, they are hunting the French warship, the "Revenant", and she carrying a secret to may prove helpful and lethal to the British. Unfortunately the "Revenant" makes it to safety by reaching the port of Cadiz to join the French and Spa Read this book in 2006, and its the 4th part, chronologically, of the great Richard Sharpe series. In this novel Richard Sharpe, is aboard a ship returning home to London after the India campaign, to join the Green Jackets of the 95th Rifles. Sailing with the Royal Navy, they are hunting the French warship, the "Revenant", and she carrying a secret to may prove helpful and lethal to the British. Unfortunately the "Revenant" makes it to safety by reaching the port of Cadiz to join the French and Spanish fleets, when all of a sudden Admiral Nelson is arriving with a mighty fleet. What is to follow is the momentous clash between the armadas of Britain against the French and Spanish on an October day, and what in the end will happen off Cape of Trafalgar is a victorious British fleet with Richard Sharpe right in the midst of it all. Very much recommended, for this is a marvellous adventure in this great series, with picturing the Battle of Trafalgar, and that's why I like to call this episode: "A Tremendous Trafalgar Tale"!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The actual battle is just the last bit of the book, which is fine. Sharpe has to take a ship back to England & Cromwell paints a logical picture of why Sharpe, an army soldier, would wind up in this battle. He admits he had no real business there, but it works well & gave me a visceral picture of life on board the ships of the time as well as covering this pivotal battle of the era. Life on a ship of this time was rough. Sharpe, as an ensign, is in the perfect position to show us all aspects & th The actual battle is just the last bit of the book, which is fine. Sharpe has to take a ship back to England & Cromwell paints a logical picture of why Sharpe, an army soldier, would wind up in this battle. He admits he had no real business there, but it works well & gave me a visceral picture of life on board the ships of the time as well as covering this pivotal battle of the era. Life on a ship of this time was rough. Sharpe, as an ensign, is in the perfect position to show us all aspects & there is quite a difference between what a crewman or steerage passenger can expect compared to the officers & rich passengers. The way fighting was handled was also covered completely. Horrifying is probably the only word that really covers the whole experience. Since Carnival Cruises have been much in the news, the comparison is obvious & provides a laughable counterpoint. Our expectations have come a long way in 2 centuries.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lee (the Book Butcher)

    Richard Sharpe and the romance of the sea. the Sharpe formula is strong and morphs into a naval escapade ala C.S Forresters' Hornblower series. Cornwell and sharpe both flounder a bit at first straining to explain some technical nautical concepts. Sharpe takes a long time to get to Trafalgar but he has a welcome female distraction. after 2/3 of the book Sharpe enters the famous title battle and Cornwell and our voracious hero does what they do best! sublime as always. the romance aspect which is Richard Sharpe and the romance of the sea. the Sharpe formula is strong and morphs into a naval escapade ala C.S Forresters' Hornblower series. Cornwell and sharpe both flounder a bit at first straining to explain some technical nautical concepts. Sharpe takes a long time to get to Trafalgar but he has a welcome female distraction. after 2/3 of the book Sharpe enters the famous title battle and Cornwell and our voracious hero does what they do best! sublime as always. the romance aspect which is always a bit of a auxiliary plotline in the series takes the readers full attention. it's a good love story with Sharpe having a passionate tryst with the noble lady Grace Hale. right under the nose of her overbearing aristocratic husband William Hale. Lord William represents everything bad about England's well bred privileged. the side characters are good with the gallant Captain Joel Chase and Cloutter as standouts. with a cameo by Anthony Pohlmann from the Indian trilogy. Cornwell does a underrated job with side characters making you feel genuinely for them. take for example when Sharpe meets the Great Horacio Nelson. Cornwell's side characters might be a little stereotypical but are well fleshed out and pervasive. so despite the change in battle medium and the ramped up romance I think the 4th Sharpe novel was overall good just dragged to long at the beginning.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    I think Aqua-Sharpe! would have been a cooler title, but this was still good fun. This is an obvious departure for the series, and one I was kinda skeptical about but Cornwell just knows how to spin a well-paced story. I really have little to no interest in naval stuff but I kept turning the pages so it's all a credit to his ease with storytelling. I mean, the plot alone sounds really terribly boring: it's basically about Sharpe's boat ride to England during which he becomes involved in Trafalga I think Aqua-Sharpe! would have been a cooler title, but this was still good fun. This is an obvious departure for the series, and one I was kinda skeptical about but Cornwell just knows how to spin a well-paced story. I really have little to no interest in naval stuff but I kept turning the pages so it's all a credit to his ease with storytelling. I mean, the plot alone sounds really terribly boring: it's basically about Sharpe's boat ride to England during which he becomes involved in Trafalgar, but Cornwell's little plots about Sharpe's greasy affair with a nobleman's wife and the dark stuff that happens as a result, documents with grave political potential trading hands, an extended chase across the ocean, etc. kept it nice and lively for me. Despite all the fun, it certainly feels inconsequential and already kind of a minor entry in the series. This novel also boasts a particularly anti-heroic Sharpe, which was nice. There were a couple moments where he almost went to the point of villainy which do show some unseen depth to Sharpe's psyche never previously seen. In previous entries like Triumph the reader gets glimpses of what a psycho Sharpe can be but in this book he's positively fucking cold-blooded. Again, more lighthearted and fun stuff, particularly for "summer reading". Honestly, I never get it when I see that saying. Do people tend to read more grim and challenging stuff in the winter? I really am not trying my hand at observational humor, I just never found out what that means. This book's big climactic battle is the titular Trafalgar, a particularly brutal naval engagement between English ships on one side and French and Spanish ships on the other. Cornwell does really get across how titanic naval battles of the era were, with these huge and bulky aquatic fortresses just utterly raking each other with huge and numerous guns. I think he mentions that one of the ships is carrying more artillery than the entire British side at Assaye, which Sharpe personally takes part in in Sharpe's Triumph. The admiral commanding the British side was the famous Nelson and Sharpe does get to have dinner with him or something. I don't know, compared to what strong characterization Cornwell gives other historical figures like Alfred the Great or even Arthur Wellesley I basically remember Nelson from this novel as a short one-armed guy. I have no idea what his value was as a leader, which is kind of a rare failing for Cornwell. In total, another thoroughly entertaining if minor Sharpe.

  9. 4 out of 5

    MasterGamgee

    OK, I give up. Listened to 6 discs and for the most part found myself not anxious to keep listening. Some of the story was interesting, and I appreciate the historical details the author presented, but I just couldn't muster enough interest to finish it. I really enjoy the Sharpe televised stories but I think that will be as far as my interest in the Sharpe world go. One funny thing - Richard meets up with a Captain Chase...who has blonde hair and enjoys coffee. In another universe, his name migh OK, I give up. Listened to 6 discs and for the most part found myself not anxious to keep listening. Some of the story was interesting, and I appreciate the historical details the author presented, but I just couldn't muster enough interest to finish it. I really enjoy the Sharpe televised stories but I think that will be as far as my interest in the Sharpe world go. One funny thing - Richard meets up with a Captain Chase...who has blonde hair and enjoys coffee. In another universe, his name might be Aubrey!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    I had a cracking time reading Sharpe's Trafalgar. Not quite as polished as the works of Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwell's naval Sharpe adventure still managed to be exciting, suspenseful and fun. And if you are to read the Sharpe books in chronological order, Sharpe's Trafalgar marks the moment when Sharpe can be seen as nothing other than anti-hero bastard extraordinaire. He is a murderer, pure and simple, and we can't help loving him for it and pulling for him all the way. I had a cracking time reading Sharpe's Trafalgar. Not quite as polished as the works of Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwell's naval Sharpe adventure still managed to be exciting, suspenseful and fun. And if you are to read the Sharpe books in chronological order, Sharpe's Trafalgar marks the moment when Sharpe can be seen as nothing other than anti-hero bastard extraordinaire. He is a murderer, pure and simple, and we can't help loving him for it and pulling for him all the way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Great fun and informative as well, but loses points for anachronisms. "Lord Horatio Nelson" is unforgivable. Great fun and informative as well, but loses points for anachronisms. "Lord Horatio Nelson" is unforgivable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Schmieder

    Bernard Cornwell's description of naval battles are as good as the authors of Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. I really enjoyed this one. I hope Cornwell writes more naval battles. And as a amateur historian, I love the way he separates the fiction from reality at the end of his Sharpe novels. Bernard Cornwell's description of naval battles are as good as the authors of Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. I really enjoyed this one. I hope Cornwell writes more naval battles. And as a amateur historian, I love the way he separates the fiction from reality at the end of his Sharpe novels.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Sherrod

    OK, I'll admit, I've been putting off reading this one just because the very idea of it seemed ludicrous and forced to me. As has been very firmly established, our man Richard Sharpe is a daring, lucky and resourceful infantry officer. Infantry. The guy can barely ride a horse, but he's the devil in a red coat on foot. But see, Trafalgar was a naval battle. As in between ships. Admiral Nelson. Sailing maneuvers (or lack thereof: just go right at 'em). Ramming. Boarding parties. Being on the wate OK, I'll admit, I've been putting off reading this one just because the very idea of it seemed ludicrous and forced to me. As has been very firmly established, our man Richard Sharpe is a daring, lucky and resourceful infantry officer. Infantry. The guy can barely ride a horse, but he's the devil in a red coat on foot. But see, Trafalgar was a naval battle. As in between ships. Admiral Nelson. Sailing maneuvers (or lack thereof: just go right at 'em). Ramming. Boarding parties. Being on the water. So how could Sharpe have a Trafalgar that wasn't preposterous and contrived? Answer: well, he can't: but the contriving minimizes the preposterousness and soon the reader forgets her pre-book scoffing altogether. After all, Richard does have to get from India back to England somehow, and we readers have already swallowed his just happening to be the unknown man who killed the Tippoo Sultan and the man who "really" found the way into Gawilgur. Anyway, lesson well learned: always trust Uncle Bernard. Speaking of things we learn, Sharpe's Trafalgar is also where we learn, not only that Sharpe has sea legs, but that he doesn't require the heat of battle to be a killer. Oh, we've had hints of this before, witness his attempt in the first book to feed his Wile E. Coyote nemesis to a tiger, but what we see in his shipboard relationship with his would-be blackmailer*, Mister Braithwaite, shows new depths of cold-bloodedness. Sharpe has never known an even-handed, just application of society's rules and laws, so he doesn't feel particularly bound by them. Dude. And Sharpe has a lot to learn as well, here, for he has in the person of his friend Captain Chase (whom he rescued from a nasty crew on land in the novel's prologue) an example of leadership like he's not seen before. His Pucelle**, on which Sharpe finds himself after he's sort-of-rescued from a captured Indiaman, is a great big ship of the line, a floating artillery battery, and, that rarity of rarities, a happy ship. How does he do that? "Sharpe watched Chase, for he reckoned he had still a lot to learn about the subtle business of leading men. He saw that the captain did not secure his authority by recourse to punishment, but rather by expecting high standards and rewarding them. He also hid his doubts." From what I know about Sharpe's future with a rifle company in the Napoleonic wars (these novels have such cultural currency that it's almost as impossible not to know Sharpe's going to end up a lieutenant in Spain as it is not to know what Rosebud is), these are good lessons for him to be getting, very important for his transformation from a gutter rat whose first (chronological) scene in fiction is of him getting flogged to a man who inspires loyalty. The scenes with Sharpe and Chase are also a nice antidote to the soap opera adultery plot that comprises more than half this book.*** Ugh. But the real star here is the famous naval battle, into which the Pucelle more or less stumbles. Cornwell gives Patrick O'Brian a run for his ramming, gunning, sailing money here; one could fully imagine the Surprise being somewhere in the smoke (but of course we know it wasn't. Sillies. The Surprise was as real as... as the Pucelle!). The action is described in loving detail, with an emphasis on its chaotic nature, for we are seeing it from the perspective of an infantry soldier serving as an "honorary marine" who barely understands what's going on. And yes, Cornwell succumbs to the temptation to substitute his fictional ship for the real one that rescued Admiral Nelson's flagship just as the French were about to board her, and also to the temptation to make Sharpe the person Nelson finds most interesting at his pre-battle breakfast. But I ask you: who wouldn't? Scenes such as those are a big part of why historical fiction is fun, if one isn't simply writing a fictionalized biography of an actual historical figure the way, say, Jean Plaidy does. But yes, I rolled my eyes a bit. But I was also smiling. It's a Sharpe book, after all. It's just not the best Sharpe book. Hey, they can't all be. Onward to Europe! *Of course the blackmail is over a woman. Cornwell knows and respects the principle of Chekhov's Gun; if a pretty woman shows up in the first act of a Sharpe novel, Sharpe is going to become her lover, even if, as in this case, she is married to an obnoxious nobleman. **"Pucelle" in English is "virgin." Ho ho! **The other half, at least until the Pucelle stumbles across the battle at Trafalgar, is a chase plot. While Sharpe is schtupping the nobleman's wife in every unseen corner of the ship that isn't too disgusting, the ship is chasing a French one, the Revenant, to which Sharpe's frenemy and also a suspected spy jumped after it took the first ship that Sharpe and co embarked on, the Calliope. It's all very exciting and Patrick O'Brian-ish, and I would have much preferred it without all the tedious adultery, but I'm just sort of like that, you know?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Normally, I would like to read series in order, but in Cornwell' very popular Sharpe series, he is writing them out of chronological sequence, so that' impossible. This one takes place fourth sequentially, but is the most recent of seventeen to be published. Cornwell is prolific and a master storyteller. The story opens with Sharpe in India, having been there several years but now about to return to England having joined up with the 95th Rifles. He' an ensign, a low ranking officer promoted out Normally, I would like to read series in order, but in Cornwell' very popular Sharpe series, he is writing them out of chronological sequence, so that' impossible. This one takes place fourth sequentially, but is the most recent of seventeen to be published. Cornwell is prolific and a master storyteller. The story opens with Sharpe in India, having been there several years but now about to return to England having joined up with the 95th Rifles. He' an ensign, a low ranking officer promoted out of the ranks. Being wise to the ways of crooks, he helps out an English naval officer who had been cheated out of several hundred pounds. Apparently it was the practice of travelers to bring their own furniture when traveling by ship and there existed a thriving business reselling furniture of those who had recently arrived from England and no longer needed the equipment they had used on the voyage. The ploy was to sell the furniture, promising delivery to the ship before it left, then have the warehouse burn down and the owner ostensibly killed. In reality, he escaped, as did all the items in the warehouse, and the goods were then sold again by a cousin, both of the culprits making a tidy profit. As the first seller was supposed to be dead, there was no legal recourse. Sharpe sniffed out the plot and helped himself and the naval officer to recoup their money. Befriending Captain Chase, the naval officer, Sharpe finds himself on Chase's ship the Pucelle, a seventy-four, and in a chase after the Revenant a French warship carrying a spy back to France with some important information related to the India campaign. Rake that he is, Sharpe soon is heavily involved with Lady Grace, wife of the haughty Lord Williams, sleeping with her ostensibly behind everyone's back. Lord Williams' secretary Braithwaite becomes aware of their involvement and Sharpe kills him, making it look as if Braithwaite had falling down a ladder. Sharpe would like to kill Williams, too, but apparently his conscience prohibits killing those higher on the social ladder. Grace is soon pregnant, but before an immediate resolution, the Pucelle and the Revenant, find themselves in the midst of the British and French fleets at Trafalgar. Cornwell is a master storyteller.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Pritchard

    Another fine Sharpe novel. In it, Sharpe kills as many enemy soldiers (or sailors in this case), murders as many deserving a**holes, kicks as many testicles, and falls for as many women way out of his league as he does in his other stories. If you liked other books in this series, you’ll like this one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I agree with most of the other reviews here which say that this book takes an aaaaage to get going. I loved the opening with Chase and Sharpe (just how many handsome officers does Sharpe charm in every book?), but then it drags like hell until we get to Trafalgar. Some familiar faces pop up, and there is some nice double-dealing intrigue going on, but Bernard Cornwell’s main problem in that first half (and indeed, the whole book tbh) is that he obviously has no idea what to do with female charac I agree with most of the other reviews here which say that this book takes an aaaaage to get going. I loved the opening with Chase and Sharpe (just how many handsome officers does Sharpe charm in every book?), but then it drags like hell until we get to Trafalgar. Some familiar faces pop up, and there is some nice double-dealing intrigue going on, but Bernard Cornwell’s main problem in that first half (and indeed, the whole book tbh) is that he obviously has no idea what to do with female characters. Lady Grace is just stuck in there as a prop whose only purpose is ‘the romantic interest’. DULL. Have her fighting the French or something, Bernie!!! (There was actually one throwaway line later on, during Trafalgar, where he mentioned a woman at one of the cannons, and I thought ooooh I want to know more about her!). I didn’t think there was so much of an issue with Sharpe being on the sea, as others have mentioned. He turned into a bit of a Gary Stu at times, and I thought ‘wait, how would he know this kind of terminology and tactical movement if he’s been a soldier on land for so long?’ but I didn’t feel the series was too out of its depth. It’s no Patrick O’Brian in terms of characters and confidence on the sea but it held its own at the end. And what an ending! The Battle of Trafalgar was incredibly written. My issues with some of the Sharpe series’ other battles was that we’ve felt a bit distant from them, but this was right in the heart of the action, in breathless descriptions and up-close combat. The brutality and violence was savagely portrayed. It got knee-capped a couple of times when Bernard insisted on giving Lord William Hale the most roll-eye ultra-villain monologue and trying to make me care what happened with Sharpe’s affair, but from the start of the battle to the boarding of the Revenant was amazing. I also adored Captain Chase from the bottom of my heart. I want a whole book about him, please! Plus, the Nelson cameo. The Nelson cameo *sobs*. My heart burst. ‘The little Admiral’, with Captain Hardy towering over him. Sharpe and Chase being so doe-eyed over him. Chase immediately bursting into tears when he sees the Victory. Armstrong calling him ‘your Majesty’. Every part with Nelson was a little diamond, and I wish the cameo wasn’t so short.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Here's how to read this book. Start on chapter ten, right where Sharpe is waiting for the battle to start. Read right though to the end of the book, because it's non stop brutally graphic combat action at sea. Except for some incredibly tense scenes between Lord William and Lady Grace. When you reach the end of the book, go back and skim through the first few chapters just to find out how sharp got mixed up with Lady Grace and what happened to Braithwaite. This is definitely a great book, but th Here's how to read this book. Start on chapter ten, right where Sharpe is waiting for the battle to start. Read right though to the end of the book, because it's non stop brutally graphic combat action at sea. Except for some incredibly tense scenes between Lord William and Lady Grace. When you reach the end of the book, go back and skim through the first few chapters just to find out how sharp got mixed up with Lady Grace and what happened to Braithwaite. This is definitely a great book, but the last fifty pages are five stars and the first one hundred are three stars, hence a four star rating.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    Book 4 which covers the Battle of Trafalgar. Ensign Sharpe is returning to England to join the Rifles. He hopes there he will be welcomed. He travels in steerage as he does not want to reveal his wealth but is tricked by the ship's captain to store his jewels in the captain's cabin. The captain goes even further and hands his ship over to the French and Sharpe losses all. Except in the meantime he captures the heart of a fellow passenger a rich and of course beautiful Lady. The captured ship then Book 4 which covers the Battle of Trafalgar. Ensign Sharpe is returning to England to join the Rifles. He hopes there he will be welcomed. He travels in steerage as he does not want to reveal his wealth but is tricked by the ship's captain to store his jewels in the captain's cabin. The captain goes even further and hands his ship over to the French and Sharpe losses all. Except in the meantime he captures the heart of a fellow passenger a rich and of course beautiful Lady. The captured ship then gets recaptured and on approaching England they join Nelson's fleet and the battle of Trafalgar. I thought the land battles were gruesome but the description of the Navy ships and the damage they did to each other and the sailors took gruesome to a new level. Of course Sharpe saves the day, gets rid of the bad guys and sails off to a new life with his new love.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeff King

    Excellent from Cornwell. It's a different setting for Cornwell, this is Alexander Kent/CS Forrester heartland. It's still gripping stuff and carries as much detail as the finest Naval historical writers. A few outrageous coincidences and the chase goes on too long but the battle scenes are excellent. Excellent from Cornwell. It's a different setting for Cornwell, this is Alexander Kent/CS Forrester heartland. It's still gripping stuff and carries as much detail as the finest Naval historical writers. A few outrageous coincidences and the chase goes on too long but the battle scenes are excellent.

  20. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Rusz

    I came to Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books thinking they might be secondary to his later Saxon Tales. And the first three Richard Sharpe novels confirmed that expectation—fine works, but lesser in theme and execution than the medieval series. “Sharpe’s Trafalgar” changes my mind. Of course, Cornwell would find a plausible way to drop Ensign Sharpe into the most consequential naval battle of the nineteenth century. And the book is as fine as anything I’ve read by the author, superbly constructed, p I came to Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books thinking they might be secondary to his later Saxon Tales. And the first three Richard Sharpe novels confirmed that expectation—fine works, but lesser in theme and execution than the medieval series. “Sharpe’s Trafalgar” changes my mind. Of course, Cornwell would find a plausible way to drop Ensign Sharpe into the most consequential naval battle of the nineteenth century. And the book is as fine as anything I’ve read by the author, superbly constructed, powerfully narrated, and full of memorable villains, heroes, and everything in between. Sharpe himself grows more complicated, acting in ways that may surprise and challenge readers. This novel is impossible to put down.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Another great read and adventure! The novel traces the sense of naval adventure and lulls for a little but not in a bad way. A great change of pace from the India Trilogy to start the series. I was excited that this was my first reading of the Battle of Trafalgar; I must read more about it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Bellew

    In book 4, the adventure is a naval battle. It's 1805, Sharpe is now Ensign in the Brittish Army, hicking a ride on a vessel that joins a fleet of Brittish warships that are about to engage the French fleet. Lots of history woven into the chaos that culminates in the famous Battle of Trafalgar. In book 4, the adventure is a naval battle. It's 1805, Sharpe is now Ensign in the Brittish Army, hicking a ride on a vessel that joins a fleet of Brittish warships that are about to engage the French fleet. Lots of history woven into the chaos that culminates in the famous Battle of Trafalgar.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Fourth in the Richard Sharpe historical military fiction series, set in 1805 amidst the Battle of Trafalgar. My Take I do so love Richard Sharpe! Okay, okay, so I fell in love with Sean Bean in the television series first, but it only turned me on to Cornwell's series! I swear! The series is an incredible exploration of early 19th century English culture with its mores, style, and class system particularly an inside peek into its military culture. And as much as I enjoy the television series, I ad Fourth in the Richard Sharpe historical military fiction series, set in 1805 amidst the Battle of Trafalgar. My Take I do so love Richard Sharpe! Okay, okay, so I fell in love with Sean Bean in the television series first, but it only turned me on to Cornwell's series! I swear! The series is an incredible exploration of early 19th century English culture with its mores, style, and class system particularly an inside peek into its military culture. And as much as I enjoy the television series, I adore the books much more. Seeing the military and the battles through the eyes of Richard Sharpe brings history to life, and Cornwell does an incredible job of bringing the fear, terror, and agony of battle deep into the reader's psyche. It's not just a recitation of battles but an in-depth view of life and war and how it affects one man. His dreams, his desires to rise up from his beginnings. His brutality balanced by his passion to succeed and his care for those less able to care for themselves—no matter their class. Part of the attraction is Cornwell including secondary characters who recognize Sharpe's abilities and ignore his station. I always love it when the underdog wins! Captain Hunt provides Sharpe with an excellent role model in how to lead men. I can hardly wait to dive into Sharpe's Prey , 5! The Story With his transfer to the 95th Rifles in place, Sharpe must get himself home to England in the course of which he experiences a wide variety of social and military adventures…with a new love in tow. Life continues to amuse when one of Sharpe's fellow passengers is actually a deserter and enemy whom Sharpe allows his imposture. In gratitude, and I suspect humor, this enemy takes every opportunity to invite the rough-edged Sharpe to dine at the captain's table. But then, suddenly, the Calliope is captured by the French, and it's up to Mr. Sharpe to take her back. The Characters Ensign Richard Sharpe was an orphan who escaped hanging by enlisting in the Army where he was promptly posted off to India, and now, six years later, he's returning to England at the invitation of the 95th Rifles, a new company being formed. HMS Pucelle is… …a third rate ship of French design with Captain Joel Hunt as its engaging, impetuous young captain, grateful for Sharpe's aid with Nana Rao's attempted fraud. The voyage from India aboard Calliope … …which is captained by Peculier Cromwell and the significant members of the ship's crew who include: Clouter, a runaway slave from St. Helena; Second Lieutenant Peel with the beautiful voice; Midshipman Harry Collier; Cowper, the ship's purser; Captain Llewellyn who is in charge of the ship's Marines; Sgt. Armstrong and Simmons are some of the Marines; First Lt. Haskell who believes the captain spoils his men; and, John Hopper, the bosun of the captain's gig who was one of those backing his captain at Nana Rao's. The passengers include Lord William Hale, a member of the East India Company's Board of Control; his wife, Lady Grace; Malachai Braithwaite, his lordship's bum-sucking secretary; Baron and Baroness von Dornberg, a.k.a., Anthony Pohlmann, a deserter from the Hanoverian army who had commanded the losing side at Assaye; Major Dalton, retiring from the 96th; Mr. and Mrs. Fairley returning to India having made their fortune; and a barrister. Trafalgar Lord Horatio Nelson commands the British fleet. The French Louis Montmorin captains the Revenant . Monsieur Michel Vaillard is a French spy whose capture has become Captain Hunt's new mission. The Cover and Title The cover has an historical validity with its clean chase of one sailing warship after another against an orange-streaked sky. The title makes me laugh with it's possession of Trafalgar — for it is indeed Sharpe's Trafalgar and not the strictly historical one!

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Caviglia

    As I recently read Pérez Reverte’s Cabo Trafalgar—then, to check on the historicity of Reverte’s presentation of the battle from the Spanish point of view, delved intoThe Trafalgar Companion: The Complete Guide to History's Most Famous Sea Battle and the Life of Admiral Lord Nelson—this is the first of the Sharpe's based on a battle I know something about … which leads to a suite of observations. Considering the two novels as vehicles for presenting history, Pérez Reverte gets the definite nod, s As I recently read Pérez Reverte’s Cabo Trafalgar—then, to check on the historicity of Reverte’s presentation of the battle from the Spanish point of view, delved intoThe Trafalgar Companion: The Complete Guide to History's Most Famous Sea Battle and the Life of Admiral Lord Nelson—this is the first of the Sharpe's based on a battle I know something about … which leads to a suite of observations. Considering the two novels as vehicles for presenting history, Pérez Reverte gets the definite nod, since his entire text is devoted to a perspective on the battle. In contrast, Cornwall (and he much as says so in his notes) conceives his novel as a “vehicle” transporting Sharpe from his Indian military past to his future in the British army fighting in Europe. And as long as Sharpe’s on a ship around the time of Trafalgar, can we make it a British ship of the line…? Can we then involve it in a tantalizing chase of a French ship of the line which carries a British traitor who has stolen the jewels Sharpe took from the body of the rajah he slew…? And can we then have this ship of the line end up near Gibraltar at exactly the right time...? Cornwall shamelessly succumbs to temptation and has his stalwart hero help save that famous day at sea—though the greater part of the first of the novel is devoted to assorted sub plots involving various villains, including a Frenchman disguised as a lackey carrying an all-important dispatch. And of course there is the latest iteration of The Woman per Volume, in this case an icy British beauty unhappy in her marriage to a cad (Will she melt to the scarred charms of you-know-who?). In sum, Reverte is better history, while Cornwall is here up to more than his usual … well … corn … in a novel that is a congeries (the Indian origin of the word wonderfully apt) of coincidences. Concerning the interpretation of this battle from the point of view of victor and defeated, it is interesting that Reverte places much blame on the French commander of the Spanish/French fleet, Villeneuve, while Cornwall stresses Nelson’s tactics and the superiority of British gunners. Both commend their respective navies for extraordinary valor in the face of carnage. Of the four Sharpe’s so far, this seems to me the weakest … and yet still a great read. God love Selby library, in which the next one awaits me!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    Maybe my favorite volume so far. Instead of the whole book being about war, this one focuses on Sharpe's personal feuds and a romance (at least until we get to the battle of Trafalgar at the end, and then we get some pretty great action). Maybe my favorite volume so far. Instead of the whole book being about war, this one focuses on Sharpe's personal feuds and a romance (at least until we get to the battle of Trafalgar at the end, and then we get some pretty great action).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    On his way home to England, Sharpe sails with one Captain Peculiar Cromwell, and meets up with his old cordial enemy, Pohlmann. He also begins an affair with the wife of the cold and haughty Lord Hale. But Cromwell and Pohlmann have sold the ship to the French, and when Sharpe and the crew are rescued by Captain Chase, the hunt is on, which leads them to meet Nelson and fight in the Battle of Trafalgar. This is another very good entry in the series, though I must say I don’t care for nautical fic On his way home to England, Sharpe sails with one Captain Peculiar Cromwell, and meets up with his old cordial enemy, Pohlmann. He also begins an affair with the wife of the cold and haughty Lord Hale. But Cromwell and Pohlmann have sold the ship to the French, and when Sharpe and the crew are rescued by Captain Chase, the hunt is on, which leads them to meet Nelson and fight in the Battle of Trafalgar. This is another very good entry in the series, though I must say I don’t care for nautical fiction as much as I do reading of land battles. As always, the historical details of ships, battles, dress and speech are mostly meticulously rendered, mixed in with a perhaps more modern action-hero sensibility (perhaps some of Sharpe’s actions, as a mere ensign, might have been frowned upon in reality). It is true that the characters in this entry are painted in broader strokes than in the previous ones: the heroes are all brave, good and dependable and the villains are all duplicitous and craven. Still, it’s a swashbuckling yarn, and great reading fun.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes Rochelle

    I haven’t read many of the Sharpe’s books, but I picked this one up to see what I could learn about Trafalgar. Well, I certainly got an eyeful, as expected! What I didn’t expect was how long it took to get there; we had to go through about 2/3 of the book before everything was in place. Since Sharpe is a landlubber, it took some doing to position him on a ship, but naturally Cornwell worked it all out and Sharpe was able to contribute his strong arm to the fighting scenes. We had a romance, too, I haven’t read many of the Sharpe’s books, but I picked this one up to see what I could learn about Trafalgar. Well, I certainly got an eyeful, as expected! What I didn’t expect was how long it took to get there; we had to go through about 2/3 of the book before everything was in place. Since Sharpe is a landlubber, it took some doing to position him on a ship, but naturally Cornwell worked it all out and Sharpe was able to contribute his strong arm to the fighting scenes. We had a romance, too, just to keep things moving. There were a lot of technical terms I had to absorb, but by the time we got into the battle I was able to follow the action. It was incredible, I must say. The battle at sea was well worth waiting for.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Ellis

    Whew! That last third of this book takes you through the Battle of Trafalgar, and when you finally reach the last page, you realize you've been holding your breath the whole time! Sharpe is making his way from India back to England to join the 95th Rifles. On board, of course, is a beautiful woman and her not-very-nice husband. Well, it is a Sharpe story after all.....there HAS to be a woman!! Meanwhile, the ship is captured by a French ship, then re-captured by a British, so on and so forth unt Whew! That last third of this book takes you through the Battle of Trafalgar, and when you finally reach the last page, you realize you've been holding your breath the whole time! Sharpe is making his way from India back to England to join the 95th Rifles. On board, of course, is a beautiful woman and her not-very-nice husband. Well, it is a Sharpe story after all.....there HAS to be a woman!! Meanwhile, the ship is captured by a French ship, then re-captured by a British, so on and so forth until they all meet the fleets for battle. Cornwell has no equal, in my opinion, for bringing a battle scene to life, and this fantastic book does not disappoint!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Kovach

    A terrific little pulp historical fiction. I see now there are SO many "Sharpe" books; don't reckon I'll make my way through them but Cornwell's definitely got talent and this was an engaging narrative. I love historical fiction and previously read the author's book about Agincourt which was also good. This one here, about Trafalgar, will successfully engage any history lover. BTW wow Nelson was a badass admiral. Most unfortunate for the French that Napolean and the French Revolution had jettiso A terrific little pulp historical fiction. I see now there are SO many "Sharpe" books; don't reckon I'll make my way through them but Cornwell's definitely got talent and this was an engaging narrative. I love historical fiction and previously read the author's book about Agincourt which was also good. This one here, about Trafalgar, will successfully engage any history lover. BTW wow Nelson was a badass admiral. Most unfortunate for the French that Napolean and the French Revolution had jettisoned too many of the best French admirals, leaving not nearly enough naval genius to deal with Nelson.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk

    Sharpe at sea. Heroic and noble with a pinch of rough, our man Sharpe manages to befriend the good and bump into the bad with a skill that holds no subtleties. On his return to England, from india, Sharpe manages to get into a bit of hanky-panky with a married woman, be robbed of his hard-earned fortune and then play an active role in the battle of Trafalgar. Gosh! what a hero! But the story is well-written and holds you from the very start. It's entertaining and even a little educational. What m Sharpe at sea. Heroic and noble with a pinch of rough, our man Sharpe manages to befriend the good and bump into the bad with a skill that holds no subtleties. On his return to England, from india, Sharpe manages to get into a bit of hanky-panky with a married woman, be robbed of his hard-earned fortune and then play an active role in the battle of Trafalgar. Gosh! what a hero! But the story is well-written and holds you from the very start. It's entertaining and even a little educational. What more do you want?

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