Summary and book reviews of Sharpe's Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe's Trafalgar

by Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe's Trafalgar
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2001, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2002, 320 pages

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Book Summary

A dazzling nautical adventure that finds ensign Richard Sharpe in the middle of one of history's most spectacular naval engagements: the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.

A dazzling nautical adventure that finds Bernard Cornwell's beloved ensign Richard Sharpe in the middle of one of history's most spectacular naval engagements: the battle at Cape Trafalgar off the coast of Spain.

The year is 1805, and Richard Sharpe, having completed his tour in India (Sharpe's Tiger; Sharpe's Triumph; Sharpe's Fortress), is headed back to England, where he will join a newly formed regiment, the Green Jackets. Traveling aboard Captain Peculiar Cromwell's East Indiaman cargo ship, the Calliope, is the lovely Lady Grace Hale, whose regal presence may provide intrigue and distraction from what promises to be an otherwise uneventful voyage home.

But nothing is uneventful in the life of Richard Sharpe, even at sea: the Calliope is captured by a formidable French warship, the Revenant, which has been terrorizing British nautical traffic in the Indian Ocean. The French warship races toward the safety of its own fleet, carrying a stolen treaty that, if delivered, could provoke India into a new war against the British -- and render for naught all that Sharpe has fought for so bravely till now. But help comes from an unexpected quarter. An old friend, a captain in the Royal Navy, is on the trail of the Revenant, and Sharpe comes aboard a 74-gun man-of-war called Pucelle in hot pursuit.

Then Admiral Horatio Nelson arrives, with his magnificent fleet of twenty-seven. What results is a breathtaking retelling of one of the most ferocious and one-sided sea battles in European history, in which Nelson -- and Sharpe -- vanquish the combined naval might of France and Spain at Trafalgar.

The Economist
The direct heir to Patrick O'Brian.

Introduction and Excerpt from Chapter One

Introduction

The most recent book in the US is Sharpe’s Trafalgar which is a bit of a cheat, for a soldier really does not have any business being at Trafalgar which was, of course, the great triumph of Horatio Nelson and the Royal Navy, but Sharpe has spent four or five years in India, has to go home, and both the timing and the geography were such that he might well (with a bit of bad luck) have been off Cape Trafalgar on October 21st, 1805.

The battle was arguably the most decisive of the nineteenth century, even more so than Waterloo. After 1805 there is only one navy that counts; the British, the rest have been sunk or captured. Before that there were three navies in Europe that could have challenged the British; the French, Spanish and Danish. The Danes have the second largest navy after Britain, but they are neutral so don’t fight (which doesn’t prevent them losing their whole navy to Britain in 1807). The French and ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The Wall Street Journal

Fun page-turners that fan clubs all over the world are devoted to.

The Boston Globe

Excellently entertaining. If you love historical drama...then look no further.

Library Journal

As always, Cornwell satisfyingly delivers action, adventure, and a great gallery of villains and heroes, plus the usual beautiful lady. Recommended for all public libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

This one takes up Sharpe's adventures in Spain 1805 and is the first Sharpe story set at sea (where, Cornwell admits, Sharpe has no place being) and shows how Nelson abandons old methods of attack and chops the French line of battle into three pieces. A mug of port, a wedge of blue-veined cheese, and some hard sea-biscuits for the master.

Publisher's Weekly

Nobody describes bloody battle scenes better than Cornwell, and even he outdoes himself with this riveting novel about the epic naval battle off Spain's Cape Trafalgar in 1805.

Publishing News

Adventure of the most exhilarating kind is in store for the reader.

The Evening Standard

A rousing read.

The London Observer

Cornwell's narration of this epic sea-battle is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.... One of the best.

Reader Reviews

emma twosouls

everything one would expect. the revelation of just how dangerous and attractive Richard Sharpe is.

Anonymous

Bernard Cornwell wrote this, what more do you need to know?

Chido



This book was in my opinion, the best Sharpe novel ever written by Cornwell, I have read all the others besides Sharpe's Havoc and enjoy them all very much. The battle scenes in this book were better, more interesting and origonal than any of the ...   Read More

cam benge

an exciting read but the affair between Sharpe and Grace side tracks the story too much

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