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on September 30, 2009
I've recently become a huge Bernard Cornwell fan. My first Cornwell book was Sharpe's Enemy. I didn't know anything about the author or the series. I was bored, I picked it up and read it. I loved the story, but it would be another 5 years when I read the next one. I went back to the beginning and have just finished Shapre's Prey.

This is the first book in the series that I read and afterward breathed a sigh of relief. I was glad to have finished it. It was a good book, but overall the action disappointed. It seemed to me as if Mr. Cornwell didn't know where he wanted the story to go and made it up as he went along. He went AWOL, robbed and murdered a man and got selected for what would equate to a Top Secret mission. He got on a boat and sailed to a foreign shore where he was almost murdered. Then he managed to march himself from unknown location 1 to possible known location 2 while being pursued by native cavalrymen who knew the land. Then he got in the city; then he got out of the city; then he got back in; then he got back out.

Wow! I give Mr. Cornwell two thumbs up for an extraordinary imagination. But in a historical fiction I look for a steady line of logic and I didn't see it in this book. The here's and there's didn't ruin the book, but they made it frustrating. It almost felt as if I weren't reading a Sharpe Series book.

The good news is I'm half way through the next book, Sharpe's Rifles, and I'm very happy to say that in my opinion the series is back on track.
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on August 26, 2012
Bernard Cornwell does it again in telling the continuing story of Richard Sharpe that makes Sharpe a real life character in our minds. This is fiction and yet it reads like a real commentary of a person's life. Sharpe is a person that has character flaws and grit and tenacity, a person that does not apologize or constantly say that he is 'sorry' for his actions. No, he marches through his challenges and faces boldly whatever is thrown his way. We, as readers get to live out his adventures and become very involved in his life. As we finish one book in this series we want to learn more about this complicated man and how his life unfolds. Yes, I am hooked by the author's skill and will continue this series with the impossible hope that it will never end. The added bonus the author includes is like the TV add saying, "But wait, there's more!" We get to learn, and in a way experience, the daily detail of civilian and military life. With the key word here being "detail". "Life is in the details", it truly is, and that is how we share this life with Sharpe.
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on August 14, 2014
Another great book by the master of historical fiction. If you have read the Sharpe series before you know what to expect. If you haven't then you must not like historical fiction. Sharpe may be the best fictional soldier ever. He is definitely the most interesting.
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on February 24, 2013
I am reading my way through the Sharpe series in (historically) chronological order and am basically enjoying them as historically well-informed escapist novels. "Sharpe's Prey" forms the second last novel in the back-stories that Cornwell wrote long after the original series was published. For that reason I'd recommend anyone starting out new to the series, as I am, to read in sequence from "Sharp's Tiger" through to "Sharpe's Prey", if possible. These novels form a cluster and benefit from being read in succession. The love interest in this novel isn't handled all that well, and comes across as a barely disguised plot mechanism, but there are other things to commend the book, especially its banter and set action pieces.
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on May 2, 2016
Plan to go through them all, as I have listened to the Aubrey series many times over. Glad to have somewhere to go.
I enjoy seeing characters developed over many books and periods of their life and career.
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on July 30, 2015
I enjoy the Cornwell books, but I specifically like the Sharpe series. I will eventually read them all, but in the Sharpe period chronological order. This book is different from the first few in that the action just doesn't measure up to the expectation of a Cornwell book. I did enjoy it an emerging historical facts with fictional actions does make the book interesting as Sharpe and his new Rifleman BN fight to capture the Danish Navy..
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on March 19, 2002
Richard Sharpe is the product of a fondling home that was willing to sell young girls or boys for evil or dangerous purposes if the price was right. He escaped at an early age to live on the streets. At best he is a rogue; at worst a murderous thug who will cut the throat of an enemy without a second thought. This novel finds him destitute after losing the fortune stolen in India. He returns to the fondling home 20 years after his escape to seek revenge plus obtaining some money. Events leave him on the run, but British government officials happen to need a lower class thug for a special mission and Sharpe's other sins can be overlooked.
The mission takes Sharpe to 1807 Copenhagen along with 43,000 pounds in gold intended as a bribe. This is like setting a fox to guard a henhouse. When his upper class traveling companion disappears with the gold, Sharpe must find both. This leads him into Copenhagen just ahead of the British attack on the city. He is caught up in intrigue and people changing sides. He eventually is able to get back to British lines, but then must return to find both the traitor and the gold. The novel has some climatic action in the middle of a heavy British bombardment of the city. Along the way, Sharpe finds a new woman then loses her again, continuing his bad luck with women.
And then there is the gold, equivalent to about 40 million pounds in today's economy, which has passed through many hands without receipts. Soldiers were being hanged for petty looting, but officials were willing to turn a blind eye where there was gold, as long as they got their share.
As a side note, the 1807 attack on Copenhagen is described in some detail in Robert C. Wing's biography of Peter Puget. Puget, then a Royal Navy captain, commanded the inshore squadron of small vessels that bombarded the city.
Based on content, I would give the novel a PG-13 rating.
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on November 14, 2017
Good book.
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on June 19, 2014
I did not know there was even a First Battle...Cromwell has made significant additions to my knowledge of this murky era, our War of 1812 also being a part of the history not taught us in K/12.
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on March 20, 2005
Sharpe's Prey is very different from Sharpe's Trafalger. When Trafalger had ended, Sharpe was united with his love Lady Grace, her husband conveniently shot while attempting to murder her. When Sharpe's Prey opens, Sharpe is wearing his traditional green jacket of the rifles, but our hero is tough to recognize. Grace died from childbirth complications, along with the baby. Sharpe's fortune has once again been eaten up and he is penniless. His commission is worthless and he is not very happy with his military career. Yet Sharpe comes out on top and soon he finds himself in a secret mission with a gentleman to Denmark. After his defeat at Trafalger, Napoleon is desperately looking for ships to use against the naval power of Britain. Denmark's fleet is tempting and the British want that fleet safe in English ports while the Danes disagree. Soon Sharpe is in over his head in a world of spies and double crosses all while the English invade the peninsular kingdom. What follows is a tale of love, revenge and war, culminated by the British bombardment of Copenhaggan a little remembered event in world history. As always Cornwell does a fine job but this time he outshines himself.
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