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Sharpe's Rifles (Richard Sharpe (chronological order) #6)

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,091 Ratings  ·  265 Reviews
Bernard Cornwell's action-packed series that captures the gritty texture of Napoleonic warfare--now beautifully repackagedIt's 1809, and Napoleon's army is sweeping across Spain. Lieutenant Richard Sharpe is newly in command of the demoralized, distrustful men of the 95th Rifles. He must lead them to safety--and the only way of escape is a treacherous trek through the enem ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1988)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jim
More of a 2.5, but definitely my least favorite of the series so far. I didn't care for the reader, Fredrick Davidson, which didn't help. While he was tolerable, his Spanish voices were very low, gravelly, & almost unintelligible at times, while all his Irish voices were very high & lilting. Since one of the Irishmen was a really big, tough sergeant, the high voice didn't fit my image of a red haired Lee Marvin well.

Sharpe wasn't shown in a very good light for most of the book & the
...more
Brad
I am reading the Sharpe books in chronological order and have just reached Sharpe's Rifles, the first meeting of Lt. Richard Sharpe and his best friend, Sgt. Harper, and I have to admit that the moment doesn't mean all that much to me.

It's crafted to be one of those great moments in fiction, and I suppose it could have been if I had approached Sharpe's Rifles from a different direction. Had I been reading the books in order of publication or even seen the occasional installment of the BBC's Shar
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Kate Sherrod
Mar 27, 2013 Kate Sherrod rated it really liked it
"He might not be a born officer, but by God he was a born soldier. He was the son of a whore, bereft of God, but a God-damned soldier."

I've decided that the best way to approach the Sharpe series -- in which the publication order differs so radically from the publication order as to seem all but an exercise in randomization -- the way one does when reading stories about Conan the Cimmerian. There might be some narrative carry-over from novel to novel, but it's best to just regard them as discret
...more
Nate
Oct 05, 2013 Nate rated it really liked it
Sharpe's Rifles starts in 1809 with the Peninsular War in Spain already raging. For those who aren't familiar, the Peninsular War was one of the big conflicts of the Napoleonic Wars, with basically Britain, Spain, and Portugal duking it out with the French on the Iberian Peninsula. When we join our hero, the Spanish armies are destroyed and the British are already outnumbered and on the retreat from the French hordes. Due to some typical snobbish officer dumbassery, Sharpe and a small group of R ...more
Deanne
Feb 08, 2014 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, war
More swashbuckling derring do from Lieutenant Richard Sharpe, do like a man in uniform though Sharpe's sounds like it should be thrown in the rag bag.
The action has moved to Spain and the peninsular war, read books which mention the Napoleonic wars but this is a chance to get to grips with who fought where and when. Already got the next in the series on the shelf to read.
William
Mar 20, 2013 William rated it really liked it
I have really enjoyed this fantastic series by Bernard Cornwell, but this novel is, if not the most intricately plotted, saturated with battle after battle between Sharpe and his Rifles and the pursuing French hordes invading Spain in 1809. Right from the get go, the gore of the skirmishes leaves the reader feeling a bit queasy, and Cornwell rarely lets up. In fact I would say that every second chapter has some form of fight, conflict or attack that leaves the haggard main character, Richard Sha ...more
Dawn
This is my fourth book in the Sharpe’s series, which I am reading as I find the books, so in no particular order.

Set in 1809, we meet Sharpe as the Quartermaster of the 95th Rifles, a job he despises. After a disastrous battle Sharpe is the most senior offer and in command. As expected he falls for the first pretty girl he finds, niece to a stanch Methodist couple. He falls in with a Spanish cavalry officer, an unwavering catholic nobleman. The 95th are not fond of the new officer and hold him
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Sam Taylor
Apr 01, 2016 Sam Taylor rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Banche
Dec 22, 2008 Linda Banche rated it it was amazing
Set during the Napoleonic Wars, Sharpe's Rifles is the story of soldier Richard Sharpe. War stories, full as they are of blood and guts, are not exactly my cup of tea. But Sharpe's Rifles is also a rousing adventure story, with plot twists that take you straight to the end, loads of descriptions, and even a bit of romance. Highly researched, the book is chock-full of historical detail, which I love, since it puts you right into the period.

But the best part is the self-doubting Sharpe, soldier ex
...more
Katy
Nov 11, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I watched the mini series first, and the book is way more intense and I wasn't even sure I liked Sharpe at all 1/2 way through the book. But that's character development for you. The author is a serious history buff and it's clear he knows what he's talking about. Some of it you kind of gloss over (which battalion was flanking which... come on!) but mostly he manages to sneak in interesting little facts like the English didn't smoke cigarettes, they only had little clay pipes. There's plenty of ...more
Marc Haddock
Jan 28, 2013 Marc Haddock rated it it was amazing
I first met Richard Cornwell's books when I read his Arthurian series, and I've yet to read one of his books I didn't enjoy. I am working my way through the Sharpe series in chronological order and have enjoyed every one.

This book was written late in the series to provide an introduction to Sharpe and his Rifles, mainly to explain the relationship Sharpe forges here with his men and his brilliant Irish sergeant. It is great fun. The battle scenes are written with clarity and a great feel for act
...more
David Weinfeld
Apr 06, 2016 David Weinfeld rated it really liked it
Very good. Richard Sharpe manages to always be at the right place at the wrong time. Somehow he always survives to win the day. This one takes place in Spain, fighting the French alongside the Spanish after he is separated from the main British force retreats.
Heather
Jan 09, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
Every so often, I like a good man-book: action, adventure, and a limited emotional palette. They're very soothing in their straightforward way. Richard Sharpe is a nineteenth-century James Bond or Tarzan of the Apes, and as with those books, I can usually make it through four or five installments before I need to come up for some less manly air.

I don't think writers are obligated to represent any particular types of characters. But when characters are represented, but only in a certain set of wa
...more
Ed
Mar 28, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, historical
#6 in the Richard Sharpe series - chronologically; #9 in order of publication. When written in 1988 this entry was a prequel to the previously written 8 novels and plunges Sharpe into Peninsular War. 5 of the novels written from 1997-2001 became prequels to this one and take Sharpe from the British Army in India, through his inadvertent presence at the Battle of Trafalgar, and into his service with the 95th Rifles and his assignment to the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. When we left him in 1807 h ...more
Jim
Feb 22, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
This is the first of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's novels I read. I knew about the tv films, but I wasn't heavily invested in any of them. I knew that these books were set during the Napoleonic Wars, and had heard good things about them. I started with Sharpe's Rifles because once upon a time it was listed in the list of titles in one of the books as chronologically the first one.

I liked this a lot. It's not deep; the characters are not terribly complex or finely nuanced. But Cornwell has a knack
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Ernie
Apr 23, 2014 Ernie rated it liked it
This series was recommended to me by Joe Wilson. He thought I would enjoy it since I enjoyed the Horatio Hornblower series. The characters, stories and adventures aren't as tightly written in this series as the other. But it was great fun. Indeed, I went on a binge read as you can see from the books read during the next month.

Some writers develop a plot formula and follow that in each book, changing the background. Cornwall tells a different story each time, while the background remains remarka
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Matt
Apr 14, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing
Just finished this novel today, tore through it in three days...I would have finished last night but I took a pause to waste my time watching TV instead (silly silly move).

First, I have to say I have tried to read one of Mr Cornwell's novel before and I could not get into it at all. This one was different. I purchased this on Sunday evening and started reading it Monday over lunch and read about a third of the way through on the first day. Tuesday was murder on the book, I read through lunch and
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John Connolly
Mar 05, 2014 John Connolly rated it it was amazing
Bernard Cornwell was one of the first writers ever to say anything nice about me in print, and we entered into a brief correspondence – and an exchange of books – which I really should resurrect, if only to tell him how much I enjoyed Sharpe’s Rifles. I’ve dipped in and out of the Sharpe books, which details the exploits of the titular British rifleman during the period before, during, and after the Napoleonic Wars, but somehow I’d never read Sharpe’s Rifles, chronologically the first in the ser ...more
Roy Elmer
So, this is the sixth Sharpe book I've read so far, and quite a brief span of time. I do this from time to time. I'll pick up a series and read until the fatigue sets in. Discworld is the most recent example. The trouble with this approach is that it results in needing to take a breather and as the author's style and tropes become so familiar, it breeds a sort of complacent dislike for the material. Not because it isn't good, but because the turns of phrase can be repeated, or in Pratchett's cas ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
The Sharpe books are turning out to be informative and entertaining reads that do for the Napoleonic Wars what the Flashman series did for the Victorian era. Our hero finds himself in northern Spain on the retreat to Corunna when, due to an unfortunate turn of events his unit is cut off from the main force and he is left in charge after the deaths of its leading officers. From that moment on Sharpe has to learn the skills of leadership, especially after a disastrous start, and is fortunate enoug ...more
HBalikov
Jan 03, 2016 HBalikov rated it really liked it
Bernard Cornwell has some strong feelings for the common man (not sexist, but all his protagonists are male), particularly that person as reflected in a military role. He is not the first, nor the last to see the commonalities in a soldier’s life throughout history. His particular focus has been the "common fighter" in history of Britain and he has picked several interesting periods in history to place his heroes. (See my Cornwell reviews.)

There is no Cornwell character who has been given more s
...more
Linda
Feb 11, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Ok, so I wouldn't have read this series if my son hadn't been so enthusiastic about it. Sharpe is a military antihero in the British Army through part of the hundred year's war. Its sort of Horatio Hornblower on land. Love the adventures, loved the insubordination, learned a lot about the why's of the war. Lot of books in this series, this one's one of the best.
Maria
Jul 19, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
Though the beginning is slow and too detailed for my taste, the book provides a fascinating look into the routine of the English regiment during Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe's character evolves with the plot movement, and in a way his journey through French occupied Spain is his rite of passage: he grows up to become a leader of his men.
Judith
I don't like the cover pictured here; it reminds me of a painting of John Brown of Harper's Ferry; seems incongruous.

Having seen the TV item, I can see why they changed the love interest in the book; I have to wonder about Louisa's future life. Married Spanish women were hemmed in by convention and I doubt that she would have as much adventure as she thinks she will. I also find it doubtful that Vivar and she have much in common; she is so naive. What the book brings out more clearly is the hard
...more
Michael Thompson
Jun 11, 2015 Michael Thompson rated it really liked it
Since I knew nothing about the British army's use of rifles, this kindled a love affair between myself and this series. Makes me wonder why more countries weren't using rifles like the Brits were to such great effect. You still have to get past the incredibly rare/unlikely event of a British enlisted man somehow rising through the ranks to become an officer (it happened, but was super rare). The men having to march across Spain to safety, all the while questioning their supposed leader is fairly ...more
Heatherhh
Jun 10, 2014 Heatherhh rated it did not like it
These books were recommended to me as a Horatio Hornblower fan, but I found myself very underwhelmed. I found the characterization of all the characters to be quite shallow, and that does include Sharpe. Many of the characters actions were unbelievable like the falling in love or running hither or yon at the drop of a hat. I also found the main character to be quite unlikable, which never gives a book much chance of being liked by me. For me, the battle scenes dragged on and were uninteresting, ...more
Trina
Mar 22, 2013 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great hook. There's something about the Napoleonic wars that stirs the blood. Sharpe's Rifles is like the Hornblower series, but on land. Bullseye if you like fast-paced action stories.
AndrewP
This is the first of the Sharp books that I have tried as an audio book. Overall, I was a bit disappointed. The narrator had a good Oxford English accent that worked for most parts but although he gave Sharpe and Harper decent Yorkshire and Irish accents, they both came off as somewhat high pitched and whinny. To me they didn't fit at all.

In this story, Lt. Sharp's commanding officer is killed and his unit is cutoff from the rest of the British forces in Spain, 1909. So Sharp has to take comman
...more
Drew Ck
Jan 15, 2015 Drew Ck rated it it was amazing
Lieutenant Sharpe, has to lead men who resent him to the safety of the British lines.
Melanie
Nov 06, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from the fact that Sharpe should have been blond, like Sean!
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who 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, C ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Sharpe (chronological order) (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 Havoc (Sharpe, #7)
  • Sharpe's Eagle (Sharpe, #8)
  • Sharpe's Gold (Sharpe, #9)
  • Sharpe's Escape (Sharpe, #10)
  • Sharpe's Fury (Sharpe, #11)

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