Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe’s Prey
The author of the swashbuckling Sharpe series of adventures fighting the French during the Napoleonic Wars, Bernard Cornwell is a premier writer of historical military adventures. This is one of only 90 numbered and signed copies in a special binding with an appreciation by the award winning espionage author and historian Anthony Price.
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Bernard Cornwell is the most prolific and best known author of historical adventure stories of his generation. His work is in the tradition of historical adventure established by G A Henty, C S Forester and his near contemporary George MacDonald Fraser. More than one critic has noted that the Sharpe adventures are like Hornblower on land. Richard Sharpe is a ranker and he uses his wit and charm to occasionally move in the higher echelons of society – much as a private detective does in say the Raymond Chandler mystery novels and his successors. This device allows Sharpe and his sidekick Harper to a kind of detective duo, to find things out, have some influence and to make alliances when favours need to repaid. But it is not just the machinations behind the scenes that Cornwell’s books are famous for; it is the action and rough and tumble on the battlefield (or sailing ship) that gets the adrenalin going.
Bernard Cornwell has written 21 books with Richard Sharpe and his colleagues serving against the French. Sharpe has become a hero figure and the Sharpe Appreciation Society frequently has many hundreds in attendance at its annual convention. This episode is about the high stakes of the huge Danish fleet and what the British do to prevent the French getting this valuable commodity. On a more personal level, betrayal and romance fit out the plot. This edition contains an appreciation by by the spy writer and historian Anthony Price.
Plotline: This tells the tale of one of the most obscure campaigns of the whole of the Napoleonic wars. The Danes had a huge merchant fleet, second only in size to Great Britain’s, and to protect it they possessed a formidable navy. But Denmark was a very small country and when, in 1807, the French decide they will invade Denmark and take the fleet for themselves, Britain has to act swiftly. Swiftly, but not particularly justly. Sharpe is inside Copenhagen when the dreadful and fateful bombardment begins.