The traditional military adventure yarn remains alive and well in the capable hands of Cornwell, as his up-from-the-ranks hero, Richard Sharpe, though stuck in the lowly role of regimental quartermaster, finds himself in the thick of the 1807 British campaign to destroy the Danish navy anchored in Copenhagen before the French can seize the ships and pose another invasion threat. As ever, the story starts fast, here with the murder of an English army officer in London by Captain John Lavisser a traitor working for the French and as vile a villain as any Sharpe has faced and scarcely lets up until Sharpe's final confrontation with Lavisser during the British bombardment of Copenhagen. Along with the swashbuckling action, Sharpe finds romance with the widowed daughter of Britain's top Danish agent, Astrid Skovgaard, who helps him get over the loss of Grace, the aristocratic young woman he met in his last outing, Sharpe's Trafalgar, but who died in childbirth. Much of the suspense hinges on whether Sharpe will quit the army and remain in Denmark, or persuade Astrid to return with him to England. Unlike Patrick O'Brian, Cornwell doesn't dwell on the details of early 19th-century life, writing in plain prose that neither evokes nor obviously violates period. This is the 18th installment in the Sharpe series (which now covers the years from 1799 to 1821, with a few small gaps). It's anyone's guess how many more are still to come, but Cornwell fans will welcome each and every one. (Jan. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This entry in the saga of British rifleman Richard Sharpe goes back to when he was a newly commissioned officer. Disillusioned by the chilly reception he receives from upper-class fellow officers, he considers leaving the army until a general who knew him in India sends him on a covert mission to neutral Denmark, whose fleet Britain wants to keep out of French hands. Richard's job is to protect an Anglo-Danish officer sent to bribe Denmark's crown prince, but the man proves to be working for the French. After nearly being killed by the turncoat's henchman, Richard becomes a fugitive in a consistently engaging adventure set within Britain's 1807 assault on Denmark, which is forgotten by everyone but the Danes. Fresh from narrating Patrick O'Brian's naval adventures, Patrick Tull invests his first reading of a Sharpe novel with greater energy and emotional depth than achieved by previous readers. Unfortunately, the signal strength of the cassettes is so weak that it is hard to hear if there are loud background noises. That problem aside, this recording is recommended for all general audio collections.-Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.