Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sharpe's Devil (Book #6)

Sharpe's Devil is the very last book in the Sharpe series. I'm going to miss those books. Of course, I can always read them again, and Cornwell has, I believe, three historical series I still haven't read yet. (I've read all the Starbucks, of which he needs to hurry up and write more, plus the standalones Gallows Thief, Stonehenge, and Redcoat.) But the Sharpes are in "my" era, so I have an affinity for them I don't expect to find with his Dark Age and medieval series. So I have to mourn a little.

Devil is set in 1820-21. Sharpe has settled down as a farmer in Normandy. He's happy with the woman he unfortunately can't marry because he can't afford to divorce the wife who stole his money and ran off with another man toward the end of the series, they have two children, and all they could ask for is a little more money to make improvements on the farm. Harper, similarly, is keeping a tavern in Dublin with his Isabella and raising four sons. But when an old friend is in trouble, they're persuaded to sail off to the rescue in Chile, along the way meeting Napoleon on St. Helena and Thomas Cochrane, the rogue naval officer Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey is largely based upon. It's a good read, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the Napoleonic War stories, possibly because I know very little about the Chilean Revolution--I seem to remember filling "Bernardo O'Higgins" into a blank on a sixth grade test, but that's about it--and so couldn't place it into context quite as well.

But the series, overall, gets a solid "A" from me, with the best volumes--Triumph, Trafalgar, Waterloo--scoring an A+. I'll miss you on my to-be-read pile, Lt. Col. Sharpe!

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