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Sharpe's Escape: Richard Sharpe & the Bussaco Campaign, 1810 (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #10) Hardcover – March 30, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060530472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060530471
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"So Sharpe and Harper will march again." Thus ended Sharpe's Havoc, the previous (19th) volume in Cornwell's series, and Sharpe aficionados will rejoice that the prophecy has been fulfilled. In September of 1810, just before repulsing the French army on the bare slopes of Bussaco ridge in central Portugal, Captain Sharpe is forced to take Lieutenant Slingsby, Colonel Lawford's arrogant, heavy-drinking brother-in-law, under his wing. Sharpe then stumbles into a confrontation with Ferragus, the malevolent brother of their treacherous Portuguese ally, Major Ferreira, whom he catches illegally hoarding flour to sell to the enemy. Sharpe is soon ambushed by the cowardly Ferragus and barely escapes with his life. The much abused captain is further humiliated when, despite Slingsby's poor performance at Bussaco, Lawford puts him in charge of the troops, then has the effrontery to reprimand Sharpe for refusing to apologize for insulting the fool. When the French find a way to flank them, the British retreat through Coimbra, where Sharpe and Harper, Sharpe's right-hand man, find themselves lured into a trap. Sharpe's old friend, Portuguese captain Vicente, and a young English governess come to Sharpe's rescue just in time for Sharpe to save his battalion, exacting retribution on his enemies in a resoundingly satisfactory denouement. With fully fleshed-out characters and keen human insight, Cornwell just keeps getting better. His faithful will be left hoping Sharpe goes on forever.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Captain Richard Sharpe, the inveterate self-made British soldier, returns in another thrilling adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars. As usual, Sharpe, a former private, is less than prudent when he thumbs his nose at authority to protect his beloved company from the unskilled officer he is assigned to train. Stationed in Portugal during the French invasion of 1810, Sharpe and his men fight valiantly to prevent further incursions by the despised "Frogs." In addition to repelling the enemy, Richard must also do battle with the dangerously underqualified Lieutenant Cornelius Slingsby, a newly minted officer protected by a convoluted kinship to Sharpe's commanding officer, Colonel Lawson. After gallantly prevailing on the treacherous ridge of Bussaco, Sharpe is busted down to quartermaster for refusing to apologize for insulting the incompetent Slingsby during the height of the conflict. But eventually the wily Sharpe saves his troops from certain annihilation under the command of the incompetent and inebriated Slingsby. The boffo battle scenes will appeal to an audience primed for epic military history by the success of the film version of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander (1969). Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.

Customer Reviews

Well reasearched battle scenes, with good character development.
Charles Campbell
Set in 1810, the story finds the British Army executing a strategic retreat from the overconfident French forces in Spain.
A. Ross
The action was great and it just was a book that was difficult to put down.
A. Roth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By W. Zollo VINE VOICE on April 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In book 20 of the Sharpe series, Cornwell is still doing what he does best...keeping Sharpe alive, keen, and fresh...and writing the best breathtaking battlescenes ever!
The Battle of Bussaco is so gritty you can smell the gunpowder, feel your mouth go dry with the salt as the Riflemen reload, and feel the smoke smothering and embracing your lungs.
Cornwell's descriptions are vivid and detailed and as authentic as it gets in historical fiction.
Naturally, Sharpe has his own private nemisis - in vol. 20 he's Ferragus, all-around 'bad-boy' selling contraband to the French and annoying Richard with fists, deeds and words.
The lovely Patrick Harper is here also (charming & one of my favorite of Cornwell's characters) and more than a sidekick. Harper grows with each novel as does Hogan (another favorite) who's more than just an engineer.
Brilliant adventure tale!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on April 16, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard Sharpe and Sgt. Harper are once again embroiled in Wellington's battle agsainst the French in Portugal. As usual, Sharpe has a chip on his shoulder about senior officers, and feels that his commander is favoring an incompetent officer over him because of the commander's marital relationship with the man. There is the usual fighting, a beautiful woman, a nasty villain, and other assorted problens to overcome before Sharpe and Harper are able to return to their army, having been left behind in a city captured by the French. It's exciting as always, and even though you know that Sharpe is going to come through, your heart beats faster at the tense scenes of trouble and danger. I certainly hope that the author has many more Sharpe adventures to tell, for it would be a shame to have this excellent series end.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Those of you who are coming to SHARPE'S ESCAPE after reading the previous nineteen volumes may be excused for sighing every now and then. Richard Sharpe, that dauntless desperado of Lord Wellington's Peninsular Campaign, is back, fighting against the forces of Napoleon in Portugal. And, of course, Sergeant Patrick Harper is here, wielding his massive nine-barreled gun and yet another incompetent English commander to contend with, and a perfidious ally. And, of course, Sharpe makes a powerful enemy early on, this time a heavily muscled Portuguese enforcer selling contraband to the French. By the time the innocent English governess shows up behind enemy lines, even the most devoted fan of Bernard Cornwell's masterful series may be rolling his eyes a bit. This is --- quite literally ---- territory that fans of the series have marched over before, more than once.
Cornwell has a gift and a curse. His gift is his intimate knowledge of Wellington's campaign against Napoleon and his ability to transmit that knowledge through the exploits of Richard Sharpe on the battlefield. (Sharpe's parallel achievements in the bedroom, of course, cannot be attributed to the Iron Duke, though Cornwell records those faithfully as well.) His curse is that he can't stop writing. Cornwell is almost maddeningly prolific --- but unlike other prolific writers, he is also incredibly consistent. SHARPE'S ESCAPE is the equal of the other nineteen; there's no appreciable difference in quality. Only the situations remain familiar. So if you're reading SHARPE'S ESCAPE and think you might have read it before, you may be very nearly right.
But if you haven't --- well, then, perhaps it's time that you had.
SHARPE'S ESCAPE is about a campaign as stern and unyielding as its hero.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roger Kennedy VINE VOICE on February 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You have to give Cornwall credit. He can churn out a pretty good Sharpe story no matter what the circumstances! Now after countless delvings back into the historical sequence of Sharpe's life which was over-looked in the original series he has come up with Massena's 1810 Campaign to re-conquer Portugal. This campaign results in the one sided Anglo-Portugese victory at Busaco.

Cornwall gives us a pretty good narrative of this battle, managing to make what was almost a fruitless French effort into something more dramatic. Sharpe plays his usual important role, although he is a bit more down-played here. Again he has a bothersome snob as his Colonel. Lawford came across better in the earlier novels, but here he seems to have become the usual pampered snob. One would think these were the only people Wellington had commanding his battalions! Still, they were good enough to beat the French!

Sharpe and his companions still manage their detached duty in a line battalion, allowing Cornwall to move him around freely in events. The usual good and bad types are there. The snob Brit aristos, the arrogant and lazy French, some cowardly Portugese traitors. The usual gore and bloodshed is there also. And there is a plunky forelorn heirone which Sharpe gets to bed of course!

Bonapartists will dislike the imcompetent portrayal of Marshal Massena, supposedly one of the best of French Marshal's, but who seems to have dropped the ball on this one! Still, the military detail of units, maneauvers and the complex interplay of tactics of the period make for good reading for those versed on the subject. There are no scenes with Wellington, and even Sharpe's gang like Harper, Perkins, Hangman, etc. seem less evident here.
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