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The anger was livid now. "Remember whipping me?"he asked. "Whipping me till the blood ran? I remember, Jem. That's why I came back.""Listen, lad.""Don't you bloody lad me," Sharpe said. "I'm grown now, Jem. I'm a soldier, Jem, an officer, and I've learned to kill."Richard--soldier, hero, rogue--the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles, whose green jacket he proudly wears.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 23 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Sharpe's Prey
Series: Sharpe #5
Authors: Bernard Cornwell
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 246
Words: 103K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The year is 1807, and Richard Sharpe is at a very low point in his life. His beloved aristocratic lover, Lady Grace Hale, has died in childbirth, along with their newborn son. Her family's lawyers then took all of Sharpe's wealth (loot he obtained fighting in India), claiming it was Grace's and that it now reverts to her family. Destitute and relegated to the menial job of quartermaster, Sharpe is on the streets of London, contemplating leaving the army.

First though, he revisits the foundling home where he was raised to get his revenge. He robs and kills Jem Hocking, his childhood tormentor.

Then a former commanding officer, Major General David Baird, finds him in a pub. Captain John Lavisser was assigned a bodyguard for a secret mission to Copenhagen, but the bodyguard was killed, supposedly by a common footpad, and a replacement is needed immediately. Baird persuades Sharpe to take the job. Lavisser does not want a bodyguard since he already has a huge servant named Barker, but orders are orders. Lord Pumphrey of the Foreign Office gives Sharpe a contact in case he runs into trouble.

Denmark is neutral, but has a powerful fleet. Napoleon wants to replace the ships France lost at the Battle of Trafalgar, and Britain is equally determined to see to it that does not happen. Lavisser's task is to bribe the Danish crown prince to hand over the fleet for safekeeping. (Lavisser's grandfather is the prince's chamberlain, and they are also related by marriage.) If that fails, the British will have to seize the ships by force.

When they go ashore in Denmark, Sharpe narrowly escapes being killed by Barker. He walks to Copenhagen and goes to see Ole Skovgaard, the emergency contact. Skovgaard turns out to be the main spy for Britain in Denmark. Meanwhile, Lavisser defects to the Danes and "confesses" that the British have sent an assassin to kill the crown prince. Skovgaard reads this lie in the newspaper and locks Sharpe in a room to await Lavisser. Sharpe escapes just in time. Lavisser turns out to be in the employ of the French; he and his men torture Skovgaard for the names of his contacts throughout Europe. Sharpe manages to kill some of Lavisser's henchmen and drive the rest off. During his stay at Skovgaard's house, he and Skovgaard's beautiful widowed daughter, Astrid, become attracted to each other. They eventually sleep together, and Sharpe contemplates settling down in Copenhagen with her.

When the British besiege Copenhagen, Sharpe joins them. The Danes refuse to surrender their fleet, so the British bombard the city. Sharpe, by now knowing the general layout of Copenhagen, guides a small force to the Danish ships, which have been prepared for burning in case the British break in. The men hide aboard the ships and safeguard them against burning. Meanwhile, Sharpe goes to Skovgaard's, only to find he has been captured and tortured again by Lavisser, who obtains the names of the British spies. Sharpe rescues Skovgaard, kills Lavisser and Barker, and gets the list of names. The city surrenders, and the Danish fleet is captured intact.

Skovgaard will no longer work for the British after what they have done to his city. He also orders Astrid to break up with Sharpe, which she does. Lord Pumphrey has Sharpe sent back to England, as he does not want the rifleman to learn that he must have the Skovgaards killed; they know too much.

My Thoughts:

My issues with Sharpe and his behavior continue and as such I think I'm going to call it quits. I also really disliked that Cornwell, the author, kills off a woman and child to propel Sharpe on his continued path of anti-hero. Just like I discussed last month in the “Project X – V” post, villains are bad, and anti-heroes are not much better in my eyes.

So while the writing is great, the over all story is engaging and very interesting and I like reading these adventures, the in your face immorality of Sharpe and Cornwell's philosophy of anti-hero'ness are too much to overcome.

If neither of those things bother you, then I would recommend trying out this series if you want some action packed historical fiction. If you would like a more positive set of reviews, Jenn at Eternal Bookcase has been reviewing the Sharpe books as well.

★★★☆☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Mar 19, 2022 |
We're still in the sequence of prequels, building up to the Iberian Campaigns, though Sharpe has made it to England and his new regiment, the 95th Regiment, the Rifles, but his past history meant that he'd been assigned regimental quartermaster and left behind when the regiment left for war

Rather miffed at that, Lieutenant Sharpe is ordered to accompany the Honourable John Lavisser on a secret mission to the Danes where Lavisser is to offer a bribe to, ah, encourage the Danes to hand over their fleet to the British - to stop it from falling into the hands of the French, who want the ships to make up their losses at Trafalgar. So Sharpe finds himself mixed up in the murky world of international espionage again as Lavisser sells out to the French and it falls to Sharpe to repair the damage...

The first attack on Denmark, with Vice Admiral Nelson as second in command, is well known - it's where Nelson turned his blind eye, but this later invasion in 1807, is far less well known in Britain and far less honourable in so many ways but Sharpe has his own sense of honour and he does his best to keep hold of it as the people round him lose their way. ( )
  JohnFair | Aug 20, 2017 |
We last saw Sharpe improbably serving as an honorary marine on board a fictional substitute for the ship that came to Admiral Nelson's rescue at a crucial stage of the sea battle at Trafalgar, a hilariously contrived plot in which to find our infantry bastard-hero but still jolly good fun. Sharpe's India adventures thus came to a rollicking closure, and Europe beckons....

As Sharpe's Prey opens, though, Europe, or at least England, has not exactly welcomed our man with open arms -- even though he came home from India a wealthy man (booty and jewels a-plenty!) and an officer to boot. If only that had been all. If only. But alas, the soap opera/shipboard romance/adultery plot that rounded out Sharpe's Trafalgar had its consequences. The upper class hasn't stayed upper by being kind to upstarts like Sharpe, after all. So it is a penniless, cranky, hopeless Sharpe whom we find wandering the streets of London, not even soldiering really as the Rifles regiment to which he was sent has the same prejudice against officers promoted from the ranks as everybody else, and they've made a quartermaster of him. We're off to battle; clean up the barracks, there's a good fellow.

Thank goodness some other good folk returned to England ahead of him, who think well of him as a man of action and effectiveness. Such is Colonel (now General) Baird, whose bacon Sharpe saved in Sharpe's Tiger (at the Siege of Seringapatam), and who, it turns out, has been looking for him for a while, for a special mission in which Sharpe shall become a secret agent!

Well, hey, honorary marine, secret agent, not that far of a leap, eh wot?

Soon Sharpe is heading off to glamorous, sunny, uh, Denmark, in the company of a mysterious half-Danish captain, on a mission to prevent the Danes from letting Napoleon have their navy to replace what he lost at Trafalgar. Pretty straightforward, right? Oh, except this captain is a complete bastard in the evil Major Dodd mode. Um. If a man is definied by the quality of his enemies, well, Sharpe is a most fascinating fellow, isn't he? And one who is never more dangerous than when he is completely screwed.

But so most of the action in this book takes place during Britain's 1807 attack on Denmark, which included a land skirmish the Danes remember as the "battle of the wooden shoes" (because so many of those fighting for the Danes were farmer/militiamen who wore those famous Danish clogs to battle) and several days of intense bombardment of the city of Copenhagen. Which is to say everything takes a bit of a darker tone, as a question that looms through the first two-thirds of the novel is whether Britain actually will bomb the city, which is full of women and children.

I don't recall Sharpe or anyone else worrying so much about civilian bystanders in India.

The bombing campaign itself -- shells and mortar rounds fired from huge wallowing British "bomb ships" in Copenhagen's outer harbor -- is described in harrowing detail, enough so to where it might make some readers queasy (as might depictions of how a spymaster gets interrogated by French agents. Pliers and teeth are involved. Ack). There are no strategic maneuvers to trace out on a map here; it's just brute force and siege warfare. It ain't pretty, but that's the way it was, and is. As Sharpe observes to himself as he sails away from the scene of his latest strange adventures, it's a soldier's world, and Sharpe is a soldier, and while he had plenty on his conscience before his Scandinavian tour, he's learned there was plenty more where that came from, and more still to come, for soon he'll be off to the Peninsula (as in Spain and Portugal) and even more war!

Lord, I do love Sharpe. Reading about him that is. I don't think I'd want to meet him in person. No. No, that wouldn't be very nice at all. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
Always fun, you can always cound of Sharpe and Cornwall for a ripping good yarn. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 1, 2016 |
A good read but it seemed too easily resolved. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
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The anger was livid now. "Remember whipping me?"he asked. "Whipping me till the blood ran? I remember, Jem. That's why I came back.""Listen, lad.""Don't you bloody lad me," Sharpe said. "I'm grown now, Jem. I'm a soldier, Jem, an officer, and I've learned to kill."Richard--soldier, hero, rogue--the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles, whose green jacket he proudly wears.

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