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Sharpe's Enemy: Richard Sharpe & the Defense of Portugal, Christmas 1812 (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #15) Hardcover – March 26, 1984

4.6 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
Book 15 of 21 in the Sharpe Series

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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Editorial Reviews


'Sharpe and his creator are national treasures.' Sunday Telegraph 'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail 'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer 'The best battle scenes of any writer I've ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.' George R.R. Martin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

BERNARD CORNWELL is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales series, which includes The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, and, most recently, The Empty Throne, and which serves as the basis for the BBC America series The Last Kingdom. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Press (March 26, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670639400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670639403
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,049,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have read all the Sharpe novels and in my opinion, this is the most entertaining. Unfortunately, it is one of the few that is not based on historical accounts, but there is enough realism to make it interesting. From the new-fangled "rockets" that are put to good use to the descriptions of early 19th century Christmas celebrations to the wonderfully evil Hakeswill to incompetent senior officers, this book has it all. Sharpe has a chance to lead a battalion of troops against an enemy of overwhelming numerical superiority and, in the Sharpe tradition, does it through a combination of ferocious and dirty fighting. One has to wonder how much more quickly Britain would have won the Peninsula wars if they had promoted all officers based on merit instead of patronage and cash. To get the full flavor of the book, however, it should not be read out of sequence with the rest of the novels in the series. The twist at the end (which I will not reveal here) is somewhat of a downer, but it provides motivation in later novels.
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Format: Paperback
Bernard Cornwell just keeps getting better and better as these books progress! This is now the 13th volume on Sharpe's timeline, and the 6th in order of publication. The character development continues to improve as new personae are introduced in each installment. An especially appealing new character is the one-eyed and mutilated rifle captain , "Sweet William", who joins Sharpe and Harper in this highly entertaining novel.
The time is late 1812 with Christmas approaching. A renegade army of British , Spanish , Portuguese , and French deserters have captured the "wife" of Colonel Sir Augustus Fotheringdale (what a name!), another of those rich and aristocratic and enormously egotistical bungling incompotents that seem to pop up regularly in these novels. Sharpe is selected to rescue the damsel in distress who is being held at an old castle and watchtower on the Northern border of Portugal , known as "the Gateway of God". He is provided by Wellington with two additional companies of riflemen and a batallion of Welsh Fusileers as reinforcements. Sharpe , now a Major , commands the rescue operation and manages to effect it with only minimal losses. The subsequent interference by Sir Augustus manages to result in the death of Colonel Kinney , the commander of the Fusileers , leaving Sharpe as the only experienced senior officer present. Also liberated is the wife of a French Colonel , who is returned promptly to her husband . The French seemingly have also mounted a rescue attempt , but only as a cover for an invasion of Portugal. Sharpe manages to uncover the scheme and settles in to thwart the French and brings them to battle , seeking to buy time for Wellington to respond.
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By A Customer on September 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
�Sharpe�s Enemy� by Bernard Cornwell is probably the best in the Sharpe series. There is nothing lacking in the story: evil and corrupt enemies, damsels in distress, heart breaking pathos and (of course) hard-fought battles. The year is 1812 and it�s Christmas time in Spain. Joining Sharpe in �Enemy� is his trusty companion Sargent Harper, the battle scared Captain �Sweet William� and the often drunk Lieutenant Harry Price. Typical of Cornwell�s Sharpe adventures are the enemy forces that will stop at nothing in their efforts to defeat the brave British soldiers.
Major Sharpe is given the task of liberating two officer�s wives and capturing the forces of Pot-au-Feu, a �Marshal� in the renegade army. During his ransom negotiations with the deserters, he encounters his old nemesis the evil and twisted Obadiah Hakeswill. Other enemies include: Sharpe�s commanding officer the incompetent and cowardly Colonel Sir Augustus and the evil and conniving French Major Ducos. One of the refreshing themes in this story is that the enemies are not just the French army but the people that are supposedly his allies. Surprisingly enough during a temporary treaty he gains some respect for a few of the Napoleon�s officers. Throughout the course of the story he commands a battalion, defends a castle and wins countless battles.
For people that have never read a Sharpe book I would like to quote a couple of sentences as an example of Cornwell�s style.
This was the way to end it! Sword in hand and charging, and even though the battle was lost he could still make these
French regret the day they had come to the Gateway of God. He could put fear in them for their next battle, he would make them remember this place with sourness.�
This is Cornwell�s gritty style. Sharpe is a soldier�s soldier and hero for all ages.
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Format: Paperback
Somehow, I've been aware for years of Cornwall's series set in the Napoleonic wars, and the BBC productions based on them, but haven't gotten around to sampling either book or video until this. It is obviously in the middle of the series, but the reader does not suffer from this. You can pretty quickly tell which characters are reoccurring ones, and indeed the British hero Sharpe finally has it out with his old enemy Obadiah Hakeswell (great name!) in this volume. Certainly, there would be greater deliciousness if I'd read of their previous encounters, but Cornwall effectively summarizes them so that one is satisfied. The military action centers around a small Spanish village near the Portuguese border, in which a band of deserters are holding hostage a number of innocent women, including the wives of some British and French officers. Sharpe is assigned the task of their rescue, and then later assumes great responsibilities as he must meet a challenge from the French. There is some good stuff about how the British officers operated, and some fun with the first rocket artillery unit in war. Despite all these heroics, Cornwall keeps the horror and senseless waste of war in clear focus. The ending is especially bittersweet, though not unexpected. I'll definitely be looking to read this series in order, or at least check out the videos.
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