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"The greatest writer of historical adventures today."
Critically acclaimed, perennial New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell (Agincourt, The Fort, the Saxon Tales) makes real history come alive in his breathtaking historical fiction. Praised as "the direct heir to Patrick O'Brian" (Agincourt, The Fort), Cornwell has brilliantly captured the fury, chaos, and excitement of battle as few writers have ever doneperhaps most vividly in his phenomenally popular novels following the illustrious military career of British Army officer Richard Sharpe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In Sharpe's Fortress, Ensign Sharpe's adventures in India reach a grand finale at the Siege of Gawilghur during the Maharatta War in December 1803, as Cornwell's hero uncovers a foul treason and seeks a righteous revenge. Perhaps the San Francisco Chronicle said it best: "If only all history lessons could be as vibrant."Fighting in the millet fields of India circa 1803, Richard Sharpe knows trouble when he sees it: dissension in the ranks, a feverish and arrogant enemy, nobody to confide in. Unbeknownst to his comrades, Sharpe has buried a fortune in booty along the way. He knows his freedom is coming, and it's only a matter of time before he can feast on the spoils. Sharpe's Fortress is the 17th in Bernard Cornwell's series starring this colonial British soldier who has risen in the ranks despite blunders and misadventures, not to mention his own suspicions of the men around him.
Treason, near-death experiences, cannonballs hidden in the tall grass "sticky with blood and thick with flies, lying twenty paces from the man it had eviscerated," these are the elements of Cornwell's war stories, which rely heavily on long, involved--and involving--battle scenes, marvelous description, and bawdy dialogue in the trenches (a highlight: arguments over whether there's such a thing as breasts that look like grapes). For readers who hunger for humorous, complex characterizations, Sharpe proves vivid and three-dimensional. He holds tightly to his dreams of treasure, eavesdropping on betrayers, ultimately hatching a desperate plan to make his way to the fortress in the sky, Gawilghur. Cornwell's hero is an honest soldier, and also a pragmatic one. He doesn't care as much about the medals and the glory as he cares about dodging cannon fire and finding a place to sleep. --Ellen Williams