Adventures in Bookland: Sharpe’s Trafalgar

Sharpe’s Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell

Although Sharpe’s Trafalgar comes fourth in the chronology of the Sharpe novels, it was actually the 19th to be written and it does suffer from being a bit Sharpe by the numbers.

So, high-status damsel in distress who falls for the bit of rough, Richard Sharpe: check. Arrogant upper-class type who hates Sharpe but gets his comeuppance: check. Accommodating upper-class type who admires Sharpe: check.

But on the positive side: brilliantly written battle scenes with a new twist – these are naval battles: check. Indeed, Cornwell’s ability to write convincing and engrossing battle scenes, and to always keep them interesting is one of his greatest abilities as a writer. Very few people can manage that as well as he does.

So, a Sharpe novel that ticks all the boxes but perhaps doesn’t have the vim and vigour of the earlier novels.


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