Author: Bernard Cornwell
Sharpe’s Christmas is a short story that takes place afterSharpe’s Regiment, where the British infantry is entrenched in France after years of fighting in Spain and Portugal. Coming up on Christmas day, Sharpe is tasked with preventing French forces from traveling through a stretch of road, which of course ends up bringing two forces on either side of Sharpe, with neither knowing how many troops he has.
Much like in Sharpe’s Skirmish, here Sharpe utilizes a clever booby trap to gain the upper hand replacing the more extensive military maneuvering found in the full length novels. With a shortened page count, Sharpe’s romantic exploits are noticeably absent. As Cornwell has recently written the prequel India novels prior to writing this story, he decides to bring back the French Colonel that Sharpe got along well with in India for this story. The reintroduction of the character was fine, and it lent itself well to maneuvering a circumstance where Sharpe would show some Christmas spirit during war time, but the method by which the reader was reintroduced to the character (both Sharpe and the Colonel reminisce about each other for the first time in years prior to running into each other) was very clunky.
Beyond that there wasn’t anything too necessary to the greater Sharpe mythos here. Sharpe had an opportunity to capture a second French Eagle, his Ensigns continue their reign as the Spinal Tap drummer or Star Trek redshirts of the crew, and the rifle regiment is able to intimidate the smooth bore French musketeers superior numbers and will survive to march again.