SHARPE’S PREY by Bernard Cornwell
Harper Collins - 2001
ISBN 0002258757 - Hard back
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
 Buy a UK Copy

Sharpe’s back!  From the opening of this novel when he tracks down the evil Master of the workhouse where he grew up to the end when he is present (in the most practical way, of course) at one of Britain’s less noble victories in Copenhagen it is action all the way.  Sharpe turns undercover agent in this novel and as usual fights, falls in love, makes friends and enemies and helps history be made in his usual inimitable style.  The narrative rips along at the pace of a speeding cannonball and left me hoping that it wouldn’t be long before Sharpe marches again.

So what is he up to this time?  Unpopular with his regiment he has been forced to turn quartermaster and mind the shop but a lucky turn of events lead to him being sent to accompany the Honorable John Lavisser to Denmark.  Their mission is to bribe the ruler with a chest of gold and thus ensure that the vast Danish fleet fights on England’s side instead of that of the French.  But it all goes terribly wrong and Sharpe ends up on the run, hunting down a traitor and inside Copenhagen just as the British bombs start to fall on civilian and military heads alike…

I could say that the thrilling battle scenes and accurate descriptions of Copenhagen in 1807 make it a tale for all those who like military novels but that would make it sound as though that was all the appeal the book had.  It is a tale for all those who like a good story, whatever their preferences and it tends to transcend genres in the same way that George MacDonald Fraser does.   Great stuff!

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