Sharpe's Havoc (Sharpe Series #7)

Sharpe's Havoc (Sharpe Series #7)

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Bestselling historical novelist Bernard Cornwell returns to the battlefields of the Iberian Peninsula with Sharpe's Havoc, where the lieutenant and his men bravely fight the French invasion into Portugal.

It is 1809, a few years after Lieutenant Richard Sharpe's heroic exploits on the battlefields of India and at Trafalgar, and Sharpe finds himself fighting the savage armies of Napoleon Bonaparte as they try to bring the whole of the Iberian Peninsula under their control. Napoleon is advancing fast in northern Portugal, and no one knows whether the small contingent of British troops stationed in Lisbon will stay to fight or sail back to England. Sharpe, however, does not have a choice: He and his squad of riflemen are on the lookout for the missing daughter of an English wine shipper, when the French onslaught begins and the city of Oporto becomes a setting for carnage and disaster.

Stranded behind enemy lines, Sharpe returns to his mission to find Kate Savage. Sharpe's position on enemy grounds is precarious, and his search is further complicated by a mysterious and threatening Englishman, Colonel Christopher, who has his own ideas on how the French can be driven from Portugal. Christopher's scheme is dangerous, and Sharpe and his Riflemen are the only obstacles standing in his way. Suddenly, a newly arrived British commander in Lisbon, Sir Arthur Wellesley, unknowingly comes to Sharpe's rescue. Just when Sharpe and his men seem doomed, Sir Arthur mounts his own counterattack, an operation of breathtaking daring that will send Marshal Soult's army reeling back into the northern mountains.

Sharpe's Havoc is a classic Sharpe story, based on real history, and a return to Portugal in the company of Sergeant Patrick Harper, Captain Hogan, and Sharpe's beloved Green-jackets, who can turn a battle as fast as Cornwell's readers can turn a page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007158287
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Ltd.
Publication date: 04/01/2003
Series: Sharpe Series , #7
Product dimensions: 4.72(w) x 5.51(h) x (d)

About the Author

BERNARD CORNWELL is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales series, which includes The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, and, most recently, The Empty Throne and Warriors of the Storm, and which serves as the basis for the hit television series The Last Kingdom. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

Sharpe's Havoc
Richard Sharpe and the Campaign in Northern Portugal, Spring 1809

Chapter One

Miss Savage was missing.

And the French were coming.

The approach of the French was the more urgent crisis. The splintering noise of sustained musket fire was sounding just outside the city and in the last ten minutes five or six cannonballs had battered through the roofs of the houses high on the river's northern bank. The Savage house was a few yards down the slope and for the moment was protected from errant French cannon fire, but already the warm spring air hummed with spent musket balls that sometimes struck the thick roof tiles with a loud crack or else ripped through the dark glossy pines to shower needles over the garden. It was a large house, built of white-painted stone and with dark-green shutters closed over the windows. The front porch was crowned with a wooden board on which were gilded letters spelling out the name House Beautiful in English. It seemed an odd name for a building high on the steep hillside where the city of Oporto overlooked the River Douro in northern Portugal, especially as the big square house was not beautiful at all, but quite stark and ugly and angular, even if its harsh lines were softened by dark cedars which would offer welcome shade in summer. A bird was making a nest in one of the cedars and whenever a musket ball tore through the branches it would squawk in alarm and fly a small loop before returning to its work. Scores of fugitives were fleeing past the House Beautiful, running down the hill toward the ferries and the pontoon bridge that would take them safe across the Douro. Some of the refugees drove pigs, goats and cattle, others pushed handcarts precariously loaded with furniture, and more than one carried a grandparent on his back.

Richard Sharpe, Lieutenant in the second battalion of His Majesty's 95th Rifles, unbuttoned his breeches and pissed on the narcissi in the House Beautiful's front flower bed. The ground was soaked because there had been a storm the previous night. Lightning had flickered above the city, thunder had billowed across the sky and the heavens had opened so that the flower beds now steamed gently as the hot sun drew out the night's moisture. A howitzer shell arched overhead, sounding like a ponderous barrel rolling swiftly over attic floorboards. It left a small gray trace of smoke from its burning fuse. Sharpe looked up at the smoke tendril, judging from its curve where the howitzer had to be emplaced. "They're getting too bloody close," he said to no one in particular.

"You'll be drowning those poor bloody flowers, so you will," Sergeant Harper said, then added a hasty "sir" when he saw Sharpe's face.

The howitzer shell exploded somewhere above the tangle of alleys close to the river and a heartbeat later the French cannonade rose to a sustained thunder, but the thunder had a crisp, clear, staccato timbre, suggesting that some of the guns were very close. A new battery, Sharpe thought. It must have unlimbered just outside the city, maybe half a mile away from Sharpe, and was probably whacking the big northern redoubt in the flank, and the musketry that had been sounding like the burning of a dry thorn bush now faded to an intermittent crackle, suggesting that the defending infantry was retreating. Some, indeed, were running and Sharpe could hardly blame them. A large and disorganized Portuguese force, led by the Bishop of Oporto, was trying to stop Marshal Soult's army from capturing the city, the second largest in Portugal, and the French were winning. The Portuguese road to safety led past the front garden of the House Beautiful and the bishop's blue-coated soldiers were skedaddling down the hill as fast as their legs could take them, except that when they saw the green-jacketed British riflemen they slowed to a walk as if to prove that they were not panicking. And that, Sharpe reckoned, was a good sign. The Portuguese evidently had pride, and troops with pride would fight well given another chance, though not all the Portuguese troops showed such spirit. The men from the ordenança kept running, but that was hardly surprising. The ordenança was an enthusiastic but unskilled army of volunteers raised to defend the homeland and the battle-hardened French troops were tearing them to shreds.

Meanwhile Miss Savage was still missing.

Captain Hogan appeared on the front porch of the House Beautiful. He carefully closed the door behind him and then looked up to heaven and swore fluently and impressively. Sharpe buttoned his breeches and his two dozen riflemen inspected their weapons as though they had never seen such things before. Captain Hogan added a few more carefully chosen words, then spat as a French round shot trundled overhead. "What it is, Richard," he said when the cannon shot had passed, "is a shambles. A bloody, goddamned miserable poxed bollocks of an agglomerated halfwitted shambles." The round shot landed somewhere in the lower town and precipitated the splintering crash of a collapsing roof. Captain Hogan took out his snuff box and inhaled a mighty pinch.

"Bless you," Sergeant Harper said.

Captain Hogan sneezed and Harper smiled.

"Her name," Hogan said, ignoring Harper, "is Katherine or, rather, Kate. Kate Savage, nineteen years old and in need, my God, how she is in need, of a thrashing! A hiding! A damned good smacking, that's what she needs, Richard. A copper-sheathed, goddamned bloody good walloping."

"So where the hell is she?" Sharpe asked.

"Her mother thinks she might have gone to Vila Real de Zedes," Captain Hogan said, "wherever in God's holy hell that might be. But the family has an estate there. A place where they go to escape the summer heat." He rolled his eyes in exasperation.

"So why would she go there, sir?" Sergeant Harper asked.

"Because she's a fatherless nineteen-year-old girl," Hogan said ...

Sharpe's Havoc
Richard Sharpe and the Campaign in Northern Portugal, Spring 1809
. Copyright © by Bernard Cornwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Sharpe's Havoc (Sharpe Series #7) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As series go, the Sharpe series is historically accurate and action oriented. However, the local villain in this volume, comes across rather 2-dimensional, when compared with Sharpe's other foes. He's certainly as big a villain as the others but he could have been more developed, in my opinion. He's no Sgt. Hakeswill nor Captain Lavisser. On the other hand, there is more development of some of Sharpe's riflemen other than Sgt. Harper. An altogether enjoyable read that lays the groundwork for the next episode in the Shape saga.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1809 in the Iberian Peninsular, though isolated from his side¿s main forces, Richard Sharpe and his unit defend Oporto, Portugal from Napoleon¿s armies. The city and the surrounding area are home to the famous red wine and numerous influential English red wine-exporting families. His superior Captain Hogan assigns Richard to keep safe the House Beautiful wine heiress Kate Savage and keep an eye on slick Colonel Christopher.

As Richard and his commandos perform their current mission, the French attack them. Portuguese irregulars led by philosopher poet Lieutenant Vicente save the beleaguered English. The two units consolidate heading to Kate¿s winery only to arrive, as she is to marry treacherous Colonel Christopher.

In his eighteenth appearance as a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars era, Sharpe lives up to his name, retaining a keen freshness as he battles the French and the bureaucracy. The tidbits from history, of which there are plenty, are brilliantly interwoven into the taut story line so that the audience receives a smooth plot yet know what is fact and what is Bernard Cornwell¿s vivid imagination. Anyone who relishes the era, enjoys war stories, or is a historical buff should read the Sharpe novels that bring in focus the realistic atrocities of battle as few novels short of All¿s Quiet on the Western Front has achieved.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous 4 months ago
a fantastic review of the Battle of Northern Portugal during the Napoleanic War and an accurate description of life in the British army of the era. i love how Cornwell creates the charecter of Richard Sharp as a vicious soldier with exceptionally high moral standards. As Utred, of his Saxon series, was of a right verses wrong mentality, so is the charecter of Richard Sharp. Another great read!
BooksForDinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another enjoyable Sharpe episode. I suppose I will eventually read all of these, I do about one a year or so.
5hrdrive on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's me, but I just couldn't get into this one the way I have with previous books in the series. I realize that writing historical fiction involves a lot of "connect the dots" and I just didn't seem to care for the way Cornwell did it this time. Two episodes worked for me, the night attack on the howitzer and the defense of the seminary, but the rest of the book seemed to be just wasting time until the next "dot" was reached.I did like how Sharpe was able to operate independently here, and I definitely emjoyed some of his subordinates, I just wish they were given more to do.
BruderBane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Filled to the brim with mayhem, murder and malicious maniacal madness this seventh installment in the Sharpe series is astonishing. Cornwell¿s tendency towards historical accuracy while maintaining macabre sense of action and suspense entices the reader to rush forward like one of the ¿forlorn hopes¿ he illustrates so well. I can hardly wait to put my grubby hands on the next installment.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
#7 in the Richard Sharpe series.6 months after escaping from Spain into Portugal, Sharpe and his men find themselves accompanying Captain Hogan of the Royal Engineers as he maps northern Portugal for the British Army garrisoning Oporto, with the French Army on its way.Suddenly, Kate Savage, the daughter of a British wine factor in Oporto disappears. Hogan orders Sharpe to the Savage family summer home, Vila Real de Zedes, in order to find Kate and return her to her mother. In addition, Sharpe is to accompany Colonel Christopher, a functionary of the Foreign Office, who is also looking for Kate and who has a mysterious diplomatic mission to accomplish for the British. in reality, Christopher is planning to become a traitor in order to curry favor with Napoleon and hopefully earn himself the right to rule northern Portugal.Before Sharpe and his men can leave Oporto, the French attack. Christopher disappears; Sharpe and his men are nearly trapped at the River Douro until they are led to safety by a very odd young Portuguese officer, Lieutenant Vincente. Sharpe and Vincente, with their combined troops, search in vain for a way to cross the river so that Sharpe and his men can head for Lisbon and the British garrison there.They are not successful, but find themselves in a series of nasty, desperate fights that eventually lead them back to Oporto to be reunited with British troops under Sir Arthur Wellesly where they participate in the battle to retake the city. The French are defeated; a race begins to overtake the defeated French Army and annihilate it. Sharpe plays a crucial role in the pursuit and effects a daring rescue as well.Sharpe's Havoc is nonstop action, even more so than in Sharpe's Rifles; this book is longer, and there is more space devoted to outstanding description of the fighting. Cornwell continues to turn out superbly written books in this genre. My only quibble with Sharpe's Havoc is that it could have used better editing. Evidently the only sound men or women could make during the Napoleonic Wars was the various conjugations of the verb "to scream". Additionally, Sharpe constantly comments "bitterly", too many times in the same or adjacent paragraphs. But these are minor flaws.As well as the outstanding battle descriptions, Cornwell spends a good deal of time describing the brutal French treatment of the Portuguese civilian population, including but not limited to the rape of women and young girls and the burning alive of villagers--"collateral damage". it is a grim look at the cost of war on a civilian population.There is an excellent map of the campaign in northern Portugal at the beginning of the book. As usual, Cornwell has written a Historical Note at the end separating historical fact from fiction, which leaves the reader--again, as usual--with the sense that he has gotten the history just right.Highly recommended.
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cronraptor More than 1 year ago
Good, typical, Sharpe story but I have to admit that after reading all of the Sharpe books, some of them several times, I don't recall Cornwell using so many run-on sentences, seriously some of them take up almost an entire paragraph and can be quite distracting, it's something I'll have to look for as I reread his other books but otherwise a satisfying read and not overly burdened with battle descriptions like Sharpe's Waterloo and others.
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