Author: Bernard Cornwell
Release Date: May 1982
In Richard Sharpe’s 13th adventure, plenty of characters return from earlier in the series and plenty of changes abound, but by the end of the novel we’re almost back to the status quo. Almost.
The most memorable villain in the entire series, a certain evil Sergeant, finely walks the line between driving the reader crazy and advancing the plot into nerve-wracking confrontations. Bernard Cornwell wisely decided to give some backstory to this character this time around in a few flashbacks, elaborating on what we already know about the man who can’t be killed.
Richard Sharpe’s lady dilemmas are also at their most interesting since Sharpe’s Trafalgar, and Sgt. Harper also has his largest character arc in a novel since he was first introduced. As usual, General Wellesley is the stoic, charismatic leader that steals all the scenes he is in and the book ends with another great historical note about the actual battle and Siege of Badajoz. Each book I look forward to this final section to hear about the actual battles and how closely Cornwell stays to history. I look forward to seeing what happens to the entire (surviving) crew in the next novel.