Author: Bernard Cornwell
Sharpe’s Ransom is the third and final short story (that I’m aware of) in the Richard Sharpe chronicles. This one takes place inbetween Waterloo and the final book Sharpe’s Devil. It finds Richard and Lucille living in France where the two are struggling to run a farm and a property. Richard is not a popular man in the village, and Lucille is resented for living with an Englishman instead of a French man. When some of Ducot’s old crew show up to find the gold that Sharpe recovered in an earlier novel, they take Lucille hostage and Sharpe must save the day (and Christmas) in under 50 pages.
Let’s start with the positives. This is a fun setting for a book, stripping away all the war drama and giving a nice slice of life of Richard and Lucille. The change is refreshing for a series that has explored every variation of early 1800’s military, and we also get a little bit of Sharpe’s parenting thoughts (i.e. not wanting to give his son a wooden horse because he might want to become a cavalry man. Yuck!
More than Sharpe’s Christmas and Sharpe’s Skirmish however, this one felt very rushed. Sharpe befriends the entire village who previously hated him in about 3 pages, he dispatches of three of the bad guys in another 3 page set, and the final confrontation is over in 2 pages. The climax in particular was a let down whereas only one of the three bad guys gets taught a lesson, and not even by Sharpe. Only one book left in the Sharpe series, I can’t wait to find out how Cornwell ends it.