The Napoleonic Wars are grinding to a perhaps inevitable end. As usual, in the Battle of Toulouse on Easter, literally thousands of soldiers are thrown against each other in a deadly mix of Goddams and Crapauds; fixed-sword bayonets; rifle bullets and musket fire; artillery and cavalry; Highlanders and French infantry; Skirmishers and Redcoats; and war and peace.
The Battle of Toulouse is won by the British two weeks after the war is already over.
In the aftermath, Napoleon's treasure is lost and Sharpe is implicated in its disappearance.
The rest of the novel is the story of Sharpe's adventures in the pursuit of his good reputation; the imperial treasure; and those who would have impugned his good name while absconding with the treasure.
The novel has the usual (for a Sharpe/Cornwell novel) dose of violence; shootings; disembowlings; beheadings --- veteran Cornwell readers need to fear no diasappointment. The only fear lies in the fact that this work is the second last in the Sharpe's series. If you've read these books in the order in which they were written you're almost at the end of a good reading adventure.
One can only hope that Cornwell will be sufficiently driven by the muses or by the need to make a mortgage payment that he will not allow the pen or the lap-top to rest. Perhaps we can all take encoragement in a comment Cornwell makes in his author's notes in this novel.
As for us: read on.
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