Author: Bernard Cornwell
Release Date: April 1995
“Sharpe’s Sword” is the 14th book in the Sharpe series, and just knowing the title of the book, somebody who has read the first thirteen books can probably accurately predict the plot of the book. Specifically, it will be about Sharpe gaining a sword from an enemy that he will undoubtedly carry in future books (much like his looking glass from Arthur Wellesley). The enemy will probably be a French officer that makes examples of civilians by committing atrocities. Sharpe will be tasked with defeating that officer, and along the way he’ll meet a beautiful woman that will fall for Sharpe despite him being a common man.
What’s amazing about this installment is that while each of those things happen they’re subverted just enough from the normal that the plot feels fresh and ends up being one of the best examples of the Sharpe series start to finish. **Spoiler alert** The middle portion of this book features Sharpe being wounded worse than in any book so far, and his recovery was as suspenseful as possible for a character that is destined to appear in another dozen books. Sergeant Harper even gets his own subplot that is straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, and I eat that stuff up in literature (there’s a reason “Faith of the Fallen” is my favorite Terry Goodkind novel). The twist involving the sword at the end was a great sentimental ending, although it was also a bit like the end of Titanic in that the final throw is a major waste.
Some of the best Sharpe novels are the ones that involve spies and this book is no exception. There were only a few supporting characters in the book that were possibilities for being the spy or the traitor, but each of them were interesting characters in their own right. Captain Jack Spears in particular was a great character with multiple dimensions that constantly kept the reader guessing.