Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Series Review: The Richard Sharpe Series, by Bernard Cornwell

Includes: Too many books to list out. About 20 in all. Starts with Sharpe’s Tiger and ends with Sharpe’s Devil.

The Premise:
Richard Sharpe, a private in the King’s army around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, is promoted up through the ranks and beyond to take part in some of the most significant battles in British history.

The Good:
Well written. Vivid. Gripping from start to finish. Mr. Cornwell keeps the action moving and never tells when he can show. These books are erudite enough to satisfy a literary itch and packed full of suspense to slake the thirst for adventure. Richard Sharpe is like an early 1800s James Bond without the couth. And Mr. Cornwell does a superb job of not rehashing the same scenarios over and over again—each story had it’s own distinctive problem to overcome.

The Bad:
Reading these books back-to-back-to-back can get a bit repetitive in parts because, as part of a series, Mr. Cornwell has to balance the need to educate new readers of key details and yet not alienate regular readers by being too redundant. He succeeds, but the best way to read this series is by taking some time away in between each. Also, these books are about war, so they can be rather graphic and occasionally gristly. And because there are so many of the books, it’s sometimes hard to remember who is whom from where and whatnot.

The Verdict:
Dive in. These stories are the perfect way to pass the time on a flight or to wile away an afternoon. It was enjoyable and gripping and I enjoyed  pretty much every book. It was Sharpe’s Review.