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Sharpe's Waterloo (Richard Sharpe #20)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  4,047 ratings  ·  121 reviews
June 1815: The Duke of Wellington, the Prince of Orange, and Napoleon will meet on the battlefield...and decide the fate of EuropepWith the emperor Napoleon at its head, and enormous French army is marching toward Brussels. The British and their allies are also converging on Brussels - in preparation for a grand society ball. And it is up to Richard Sharpe to convince the ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1st 1991 by Penguin (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael
I appreciated this as a window on the famous 1815 battle, with Sharpe a Zellig-like figure at key turning points. However, I missed Sharpe’s personal story as the main focus of the narrative rather than getting a sense of him being used as a tool to illustrate historical events.

If you have read any of the Sharpe series on the British army during the Napoleanic Wars, you will want to read this out for a sense of completion, with this being the penultimate volume. He still thinks of himself as a
...more
Huw Rhys
Firstly, my prejudices - I've been a huge fan of the TV versions of the Sharpe books; I've been an even bigger fan of the Napoleonic Wars, and Waterloo in particular - I've probably read more on and around the subject than is healthy for anyone.

Although I've never actually read a Bernard Cornwell novel before, I was really looking forward, therefore, to reading his account of Richard Sharpe's contribution to the Battle of Waterloo.

All the ingredients for a literary disaster therefore - I had set
...more
Graham
I'd suspected that SHARPE'S WATERLOO, the penultimate Sharpe adventure and the culmination of his adventures in the Napoleonic War, could be nothing but a triumph. After all, it's a novel dedicated to one of the biggest, most-remembered battles in all of history, so how could Cornwell get it wrong? He built to it for a decade, honing his craft with more minor (but no less gripping) stories before finally sitting down to tackle it.

Needless to say, I loved everything about this story. It's a massi
...more
Joyce Lagow
No. 20 in the Richard Sharpe series. [return][return]This, the culmination of the series to which all previous installments have pointed, is without question Cornwell s best book. While Sharpe s personal life does enter into it, at least 3/4 of the book if not more is devoted to the complex Battle of Waterloo which took place from Thursday, June 15 with Napoleon s invasion of the Netherlands to the final, epic, and hair-raising battle near the village of Waterloo on Sunday, June 18. Cornwell doe ...more
Siria
I'd advise not reading the author's note at the end of the book, because it tips the novel's John Bull-ishness right over the edge into jingoism. The body of the book is hardly great literature, but it's enjoyable--it could have been edited down, but as a dubiously-historical recounting of Waterloo from the first skirmishes at Quatre Bras to the defeat of the Imperial Guard, it rollicks along amiably enough. Its biggest flaw, however, is that Sharpe just doesn't have a much of a purpose. His mov ...more
Moira
All right, I'll confess it - I'm a Richard Sharpe addict. I have just started the last of the 21 novels (read in historically chronological order, not the order written) and I will miss his adventures once I'm done. One of the factors in my appreciation of the series is the image of Sean Bean's Sharpe portrayal from the movies (very appealing!), but the other is the breathtaking depiction of battle in all its glorious valor, unbelievable horror and intimate detail amid a historical setting. I ca ...more
Hazel
The Richard Sharpe series is a magnificent work of historical fiction. Bernard Cornwell has written an amazing series following Sharpe from a private in India to a Lt. Colonel at Waterloo and then a civilian farmer.
Jeff Yoak
For the culmination of the war I've followed through all of these battles, the novel fell a little flat. I think it suffered from being such a culmination. Waterloo is a such a massive historical event ending a series of events the author is so obviously interested in that I think he couldn't resist making the novel more about Waterloo than about our heroes and their time in it.

A good example is the ubiquitous battle scene present in all of the novels. Bernard Cornwell writes excellent battle sc
...more
Jacqie
I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. He writes great historical military fiction. I've read several of the Sharpe books (totally out of order) and enjoy his gutter-born, dirty-fighting British soldier and survivor extraordinaire.
I have read better Sharpe books than this one, although I certainly did enjoy this book. Waterloo is a daunting subject and one I knew nothing about except that Wellington won the battle. There is such a wealth of literature that Cornwell ends up describing the battle at
...more
Andrew
Definitely one of the grittier, and in my opinion stronger of Cornwell's Sharpe series. Waterloo manages to showcase Richard Sharpe both in his classic role of the bad ass tough as nails, Eagle taking, Frenchman killing son of a bitch that he was, and at the same time show his vulnerability from so many years worth of campaigns and battles, and how all he really wants at this point is to not be fighting and killing to just be back home living a quiet retired life. I found myself able to associat ...more
Jim
Cornwell outdid himself with this original end to the Sharpe series. (Since then, he also wrote Sharpe's Devil in which Sharpe gets to meet the former Emperor on St Helena.)

Waterloo was a close call. Napoleon came within a millimeter's length of winning, but he was too hidebound to change his tactics that worked when facing lesser opponents. Here, he was facing Wellington, who was quite another kettle of fish entirely. I was gratified that in a book written primarily to entertain, its author man
...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2482966.html

Sharpe's Waterloo is the culmination of an eleven-book series of novels about a British officer during the Napoleonic wars. It was recommended to me by Professor Brendan Simms, author of The Longest Afternoon, a factual treatment of the fighting around La Haye Sainte during the battle. I've read two other books by Cornwell, but none of the other Sharpe books, nor have I seen any of the TV series starring Sean Bean (I understand that, unlike some of the o
...more
Ben
Bernard Cornwell who is one of the best writers of historical fiction writing, turns his writer's eye and skill to the famous battle of Waterloo. This is the battle that ended the last hope of Napoleon to return as Emperor of France.
The battle of Waterloo was really three battles spread out over four days, and it is Cornwell's purpose to present an overview of the combat, the confusion, and the horror of the battle, and the persons involved, great and obscure, on the fields those days.
The book i
...more
Stephen
Although Napoleon Bonaparte came from Corsican royalty, his upbringing evidently lacked manners, else he would know it is most uncouth to interrupt a ball with a massive invasion. After years of brutal fighting in Portugal and Spain, Richard Sharpe thought he had seen the end of war. The imprisoned emperor's armies were defeated while he languished in Elba-- and yet, like a horror movie villain, he sprang back to life as soon as the peace was settled, resuming his role as Emperor and resurrecti ...more
Trish
I felt I ought to read something about Waterloo in the week leading up to the 200th Anniversary of the battle, so I've put a couple of books into the reading rotation. This one is to remind me of the basics (a history book cunningly disguised as fiction!), while The Longest Afternoon is an actual history of part of the conflict.
Alexander Coleman
I have read a number of Bernard Cornwell's 'Sharpe' series of books over the past few years. Although I have skipped over a few, I have largely tried to follow it in order. As a whole, the series never fails to hit the mark but after reading so many I was beginning to find them a little stale.

Waterloo however is easily one of the strongest in the series. This is partly due to the rich source material from a truly incredible few days in modern day Belgium, but also due to some excellent work by B
...more
Henry
This is a well researched narrative about a great part of European history. Cornwell places a lot of focus on letters from the soldiers in the battle; their own words are a glimpse at the horror from the inside and I found that welcome. His sense of detail is impressive and the he does a good job of telling the story of the final battle in an hour-by-hour sequence that keeps a sense of suspense.

The book is challenging in two ways. First, the author has an annoying habit of relentlessly switching
...more
David A.
Elevating Sharpe from a lowly private to a senior officer in Wellingtons Army has been a masterstroke in historical fiction writing. In Sharpe's Waterloo, Cornwell has provided a fictional account of one of the great European battles of the time while still managing to weave in a story with true historical perspectives. Hard to say which of the series is the best, but this is way up there.
Lisa Tangen
Wow. This book had cringeworthy descriptions of the horror of war. I felt sorry for the poor horses in the Calvary as they were always the main target. Then the desecration and pillaging of the bodies of the dead and wounded after battle...even to the point of extracting perfectly good teeth to sell to denture makers. This was a fascinating and well-written account of a historic event that until now i have known little about. Since I listened to the book on tape I don't know if the facts were fo ...more
Kathleen
Audio, narrated superbly by Frederick Davidson. I haven't read any other books in this series, nor have I seen any of the television episodes. Nonetheless, I was able to follow along. Main characters are Richard Sharpe and his best friend Patrick Harper, Prince of Orange (Slender Billy), Duke of Wellington, Jane (Sharpe's wicked wife, currently living with the besotted Lord John Rossendale), Sharpe's lover Lucille, etc etc.

I was particularly interested in Major Peter D'Alembord, serving under Fo
...more
Adam West
Absolutely a must read for any military history enthusiast. Cornwell starts out explaining events that led to Waterloo, specifically the twin battles of Quatre Bras and Ligney, where he shows how close Napoleon actually came to victory over the Prussians and British/Dutch armies. His detailed play by play look at the battle of Waterloo itself is very informative and draws many lessons learned for military leaders today. I think I may have found a new favorite author, I can't wait to read some mo ...more
Nan Hawthorne
Waterloo

Bernard Cornwell

Richard Sharpe Adventure Series

We are almost there. My husband's and my marathon attempt to read every Richard Sharpe novel in chronological order is nearly at an end. Waterloo is the second to last, at least at this date. So far it is easily my favorite, but then I have become fond of the battle for some reason and even written a bit about it myself.. nothing published yet. We only have Sharpe's Devil to go. We've read it, but we will read it again, almost next.

In spite
...more
Alan
There can't be much of a question that Bernard Cornwell does his research. The question for me remains, after two of his books, is whether he is a good writer. Waterloo I think is one of many examples that can be found where the property has been affected by its expansion into other media.

Sharpe's Rifles was written before the movies were made. The Sharpe in the first book is a more conflicted character than the one Sean Bean portrays (yes a movie where Sean Bean lives until the end), but he is
...more
Mick
It is June, 1815. One year ago, the Emperor of France abdicated and went into exile on the island of Elba, and Richard Sharpe retired to life on half-pay as a farmer in Normandy. Europe, after decades of bloodshed, finally knew peace.

But the Emperor, although bloodied, was never beaten. In just a hundred days he has returned from Elba, taken Paris, raised a massive army, and stands ready to invade The Netherlands with the aim of driving the British from Europe once and for all. Against him stan
...more
Marcus
Well, I have finally reached to the grandé finale of this cycle (haven't got the faintest idea what the last book in the series is about) and Bernard Cornwell surely delivers this one last time. The reader gets to follow Sharpe as he due to share luck happens always to be at the right place and right time during both Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Of course, I am being a tad cynical here - the fact is that Sharpe in this book takes a secondary role of the vehicle allowing Cornwell to re-tell the stor ...more
Dark-Draco
The penultimate Sharpe book follows him to the end of the Napoleonic wars and the Battle of Waterloo. Effectively retired, Sharpe rejoins the army under the Prince of Orange, purely for the money as he needs to fix up the château where he now lives. But Napoleon has other ideas and invades Belgium, almost taking the English and Prussian armies by surprise. Sharpe is on hand to hamper their first incursion, then races to tell Wellington of the threat. The army is mustered and eventually makes the ...more
Mikey
Having read most of the Sharpe series and recently, watched a documentary on Napoleon Bonaparte, reading through Sharpe's Waterloo was the natural next step.

I expected what is present in most of Sharpe novels: Sharpe gets his orders, he comes to odds with an incompetent officer or an arch-nemesis, he wins the day and gets the girl and completes his mission. Sharpe's Waterloo had a few elements of previous Sharpe novels in that the Prince of Orange is both an incompetent military leader and the o
...more
Sylvian
So Richard Sharpe, a man who kills and shags his way through France, Portugal and Spain during the Peninsular War. Actually it goes back farther to the Raj. when he was a young soldier, possibly shagging and killing his way through India too and afterwards, I don't know where he goes afterwards, but I suspect that, without a doubt, he ends up killing or shagging something there too.

So I sat down a prepared for Sharpe to insert his sword and his phallus into some poor Frenchman and woman (respec
...more
Doug
Bernard Cornwell is absolutely one of my favorite authors. He writes a great story and no-one does battle scenes better. I haven't read a Sharpe novel in ages and picked this book up mainly to fill the time until my library gets his upcoming non-fiction account of Waterloo. I'm very glad I did. Sharpe is a great character, kind of like a nineteenth century Jack Reacher. I believe that the battle scenes in Waterloo are some of Cornwell's finest writing. Even though you know the outcome, he manage ...more
Michael Thompson
I loved this but, it's not very long on character development. It's pretty much just a description of the Battle of Waterloo. But, it's done so well, everything is very clear/makes sense. You can absorb the entire battle. I love at the end of most of the Sharpe books, Cornwell places descriptions of what really happened compared to what he writes about in his books. I learned a lot. I would LOVE to go to Belgium and visit the battlefield.
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12542
Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwe ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Sharpe (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe, #1)
  • Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe, #2)
  • Sharpe's Fortress (Sharpe, #3)
  • Sharpe's Trafalgar (Sharpe, #4)
  • Sharpe's Prey (Sharpe, #5)
  • Sharpe's Rifles (Sharpe, #6)
  • Sharpe's Havoc (Sharpe, #7)
  • Sharpe's Eagle (Sharpe, #8)
  • Sharpe's Gold (Sharpe, #9)
  • Sharpe's Escape (Sharpe, #10)
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)

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