Book Review – Sharpe’s Assassin


Book 22 by Bernard Cornwell

As I have recently been reading through Gaunt’s Ghosts recently by Dan Abnett, which is effectively Sharpe in space… and then Cornwell released a new book in the Sharpe series… so I rushed out and grabbed it.

The cover…!

From the book:

SHARPE IS BACK. Outsider. Hero. Rogue. And the one man you want on your side.

If any man can do the impossible it’s Richard Sharpe . . .

Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe is a man with a reputation. Born in the gutter, raised a foundling, he joined the army twenty-one years ago, and it’s been his home ever since. He’s a loose cannon, but his unconventional methods make him a valuable weapon.

So when, the dust still settling after the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington needs a favour, he turns to Sharpe. For Wellington knows that the end of one war is only the beginning of another. Napoleon’s army may be defeated, but another enemy lies waiting in the shadows – a secretive group of fanatical revolutionaries hell-bent on revenge.

Sharpe is dispatched to a new battleground: the maze of Paris streets where lines blur between friend and foe. And in search of a spy, he will have to defeat a lethal assassin determined to kill his target or die trying . . .

Sharpe is back… in France and fighting the French after Waterloo. And it’s all page turning stuff of the best traditions of the previous books.

Sharpe is of course joined by his two constant companions – Sergeant Harper, and Sergeant Harper’s volley gun – as together they search France for missing artwork and for a plot to assassinate the Duke of Wellington.

…but is a triumphant return? – in short, yes! As a fan of Sharpe (this is the reason I’m interested in the Napoleonic era) its a great addition to the series, and its good fun to be back following the characters. Cornwell even throws in a small set-piece battle or two just to get the juices flowing before the heroes go to France searching for the Fraternity – a group of French soldiers dedicated to avenging Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.

Its a great fun story, a page turner, and definitely won’t be a classic of the genre, but if you’ve read other Sharpe’s then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up… if you’ve never read Sharpe then start at the beginning with Sharpe’s Eagle!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

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