Sharpe’s Gold – Bernard Cornwell

Title: Sharpe’s Gold
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Published byHarperCollins
Publication date: Dec 1981
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 302
Format: eBook
Source: Private Collection
Series: Sharpe

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Blurb/Synopsis

Spain, August 1810

The English army faces ruin in Spain – and the Duke of Wellington is desperate for money to fund the war. Only a cache of hidden Spanish gold can save them. And only Captain Richard Sharpe has the cunning to capture it.

In the treacherous terrain of the Portuguese hills, with rain sweeping the peninsula, a powerful guerrilla leader holds possession of the gold. And risking everything for the ultimate prize – for his honour, for his army’s fate – is Sharpe . . .

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Moving on to book 9 of the Sharpe series. I picked this up as Bookstooge reminded me I was meant to be reading this series with his review of Sharpe’s Prey


Sharpe’s Gold is the 9th book in chronological order of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series. In this particular offering of the series, Sharpe is tasked by the Duke of Wellington to track down a hidden cache of Spanish Gold and return with it and in the process single-handedly securing the financial future of the English in the war.

At this point, you’re either going to be sold one way or another on the Sharpe series. You don’t get to number 9 in a series that you feel is only mediocre, so my review comes from a more positive bias for the series and characters. What I have lauded this series previously is the feeling of historical accuracy within them. A lot of that goes out of the window in Sharpe’s Gold. There is a definite fictitious spin on the plot; Sharpe and his riflemen going off into the Portuguese hills in order to recover a hidden cache of vital gold. The entirety of this novel is based on a pivotal event that occurs towards the end; the explosive destruction of Almeida. As always, it’s a good-fun adventure, even if some of the choices by the main character boarder on immorally out of character.

Sharpe is a rogue through and through, but some of his choices in this book do seem out of character. He is still a womaniser and I lament having written in my wrap-up last week that he’s not fallen in love. He does. Badly. With two women. I think it’s just something that is going to happen in most books from here on out. Sharpe will find a new woman that he lusts over. Maybe the ruthlessness of his character and interactions feels uncharacteristic because Sharpe’s Gold was the second book written in terms of publication and the intricacies of the main character hadn’t been figured out just yet?

Regardless of the shift in character and the incredulousness of the plot, Sharpe’s Gold is a good read. It’s a well-written, sensationalist romp, just like all the other Sharpe novels. It’s heavy on the action, has a good host of scraps and scrapes that Sharpe and his fellows need to fight their way through. It manages to be an entertaining read without being completely far-fetched. Within the pages are also the usual affair of treachery and back-stapping; which is now par for the course. It seems that most of the Sharpe novels fit in a mold, but if the formula works, then there’s no harm in changing it, right? It’ll just be another couple of weeks before I pick up the next one and am looking for a reliably good, if somewhat predictable, read.

Summary

Because the Sharpe books are so ‘carbon copy’ of one another in many respects, I am struggling to find new things to say about them. For me, they are consistently good and have the same qualities that make them irksome. I enjoy them for the anti-hero sensationalism that they are and I’ll probably continue to say this for the next 13 books in the series!

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