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Sharpe's Trafalgar

(Sharpe #4)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  10,689 ratings  ·  335 reviews
Richard Sharpe, travelling home aboard the ‘Revenant’, meets Admiral Nelson and his fleet, on what was a calm October day off Cape Trafalgar.

Soldier, hero, rogue – Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles who
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Harper Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2000)
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Jason Koivu
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Like a fish out of water, British soldier Richard Sharpe takes to the sea!

Seems as if Bernard Cornwell was itching to tackle this most epic of all British naval battles and to do so he manufactured his hero Sharpe into the action. I can't blame him, it's one of the biggest events of the Napoleonic War, and if that's the backdrop to your series it stands to reason you'd want to showcase this particular battle in some way.

Contrived as it may be, Sharpe's Trafalgar is one of Cornwell's better effo
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For many, such as myself, who appreciate the novels of Bernard Cornwell, that appreciation began with his novels of Britain during its wars with France that became The Napoleonic Wars. It was Cornwell’s intention to convey British history from the “ground floor” rather than “the eagle’s nest.” To that end, he created the character of Richard Sharpe, a London lad who joins the British Army and starts his career in India.

By 1805, Sharpe has risen to the rank of ensign in the 74th Regiment and thi
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 4 in the Sharpe series.
As the title implies, this historical fiction is about The Battle of Trafalgar.
As luck would have it, Richard Sharpe is on board ship sailing for England, where he has been assigned to the 95th rifles.
It's along way from Bombay to London and a lot could and will happen in between departure and destination.
Illicit love with a married lady of the gentry. Theft on a grand scale. Turn coat English captains. Last but not least, The Battle of Trafalgar, and Richard Sharpe
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I first saw this book, the first thing that came into my mind was the old movie, "The Wackiest Ship in the Army."

Sharpe, a soldier, is on a ship in the Indian Ocean. Also on the ship is a Lady, and an old opponent. Pirates come in the picture, and of course, the old opponent helps them take over the ship.

Pretty good. It was different seeing an sea-borne adventure from the viewpoint of a landlubber soldier.
The actual battle is just the last bit of the book, which is fine. Sharpe has to take a ship back to England & Cromwell paints a logical picture of why Sharpe, an army soldier, would wind up in this battle. He admits he had no real business there, but it works well & gave me a visceral picture of life on board the ships of the time as well as covering this pivotal battle of the era.

Life on a ship of this time was rough. Sharpe, as an ensign, is in the perfect position to show us all aspects & th
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Aqua-Sharpe! would have been a cooler title, but this was still good fun. This is an obvious departure for the series, and one I was kinda skeptical about but Cornwell just knows how to spin a well-paced story. I really have little to no interest in naval stuff but I kept turning the pages so it's all a credit to his ease with storytelling. I mean, the plot alone sounds really terribly boring: it's basically about Sharpe's boat ride to England during which he becomes involved in Trafalga ...more
Lee  (the Book Butcher)
Richard Sharpe and the romance of the sea. the Sharpe formula is strong and morphs into a naval escapade ala C.S Forresters' Hornblower series. Cornwell and sharpe both flounder a bit at first straining to explain some technical nautical concepts. Sharpe takes a long time to get to Trafalgar but he has a welcome female distraction. after 2/3 of the book Sharpe enters the famous title battle and Cornwell and our voracious hero does what they do best! sublime as always. the romance aspect which is ...more
Susan needs more books, not really
OK, I give up. Listened to 6 discs and for the most part found myself not anxious to keep listening. Some of the story was interesting, and I appreciate the historical details the author presented, but I just couldn't muster enough interest to finish it. I really enjoy the Sharpe televised stories but I think that will be as far as my interest in the Sharpe world go.

One funny thing - Richard meets up with a Captain Chase...who has blonde hair and enjoys coffee. In another universe, his name migh
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
I had a cracking time reading Sharpe's Trafalgar. Not quite as polished as the works of Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwell's naval Sharpe adventure still managed to be exciting, suspenseful and fun.

And if you are to read the Sharpe books in chronological order, Sharpe's Trafalgar marks the moment when Sharpe can be seen as nothing other than anti-hero bastard extraordinaire. He is a murderer, pure and simple, and we can't help loving him for it and pulling for him all the way.
Great fun and informative as well, but loses points for anachronisms. "Lord Horatio Nelson" is unforgivable. ...more
Kate Sherrod
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
OK, I'll admit, I've been putting off reading this one just because the very idea of it seemed ludicrous and forced to me. As has been very firmly established, our man Richard Sharpe is a daring, lucky and resourceful infantry officer. Infantry. The guy can barely ride a horse, but he's the devil in a red coat on foot. But see, Trafalgar was a naval battle. As in between ships. Admiral Nelson. Sailing maneuvers (or lack thereof: just go right at 'em). Ramming. Boarding parties. Being on the wate ...more
John Caviglia
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
As I recently read Pérez Reverte’s Cabo Trafalgar—then, to check on the historicity of Reverte’s presentation of the battle from the Spanish point of view, delved intoThe Trafalgar Companion: The Complete Guide to History's Most Famous Sea Battle and the Life of Admiral Lord Nelson—this is the first of the Sharpe's based on a battle I know something about … which leads to a suite of observations.

Considering the two novels as vehicles for presenting history, Pérez Reverte gets the definite nod, s
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Normally, I would like to read series in order, but in Cornwell' very popular Sharpe series, he is writing them out of chronological sequence, so that' impossible. This one takes place fourth sequentially, but is the most recent of seventeen to be published. Cornwell is prolific and a master storyteller.

The story opens with Sharpe in India, having been there several years but now about to return to England having joined up with the 95th Rifles. He' an ensign, a low ranking officer promoted out
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with most of the other reviews here which say that this book takes an aaaaage to get going. I loved the opening with Chase and Sharpe (just how many handsome officers does Sharpe charm in every book?), but then it drags like hell until we get to Trafalgar. Some familiar faces pop up, and there is some nice double-dealing intrigue going on, but Bernard Cornwell’s main problem in that first half (and indeed, the whole book tbh) is that he obviously has no idea what to do with female charac ...more
Carol Storm
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here's how to read this book. Start on chapter ten, right where Sharpe is waiting for the battle to start. Read right though to the end of the book, because it's non stop brutally graphic combat action at sea. Except for some incredibly tense scenes between Lord William and Lady Grace. When you reach the end of the book, go back and skim through the first few chapters just to find out how sharp got mixed up with Lady Grace and what happened to Braithwaite.

This is definitely a great book, but th
Jeff King
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent from Cornwell. It's a different setting for Cornwell, this is Alexander Kent/CS Forrester heartland. It's still gripping stuff and carries as much detail as the finest Naval historical writers. A few outrageous coincidences and the chase goes on too long but the battle scenes are excellent. ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Action Seekers
Recommended to Sean by: Kevin Varley
Another great read and adventure!

The novel traces the sense of naval adventure and lulls for a little but not in a bad way. A great change of pace from the India Trilogy to start the series.

I was excited that this was my first reading of the Battle of Trafalgar; I must read more about it.
Kenny Bellew
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In book 4, the adventure is a naval battle. It's 1805, Sharpe is now Ensign in the Brittish Army, hicking a ride on a vessel that joins a fleet of Brittish warships that are about to engage the French fleet. Lots of history woven into the chaos that culminates in the famous Battle of Trafalgar. ...more
Kathy Davie
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action, military, history
Fourth in the Richard Sharpe historical military fiction series, set in 1805 amidst the Battle of Trafalgar.

My Take
I do so love Richard Sharpe! Okay, okay, so I fell in love with Sean Bean in the television series first, but it only turned me on to Cornwell's series! I swear! The series is an incredible exploration of early 19th century English culture with its mores, style, and class system particularly an inside peek into its military culture. And as much as I enjoy the television series, I ad
Andrew Pritchard
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another fine Sharpe novel. In it, Sharpe kills as many enemy soldiers (or sailors in this case), murders as many deserving a**holes, kicks as many testicles, and falls for as many women way out of his league as he does in his other stories. If you liked other books in this series, you’ll like this one.
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, historical, fiction
On his way home to England, Sharpe sails with one Captain Peculiar Cromwell, and meets up with his old cordial enemy, Pohlmann. He also begins an affair with the wife of the cold and haughty Lord Hale. But Cromwell and Pohlmann have sold the ship to the French, and when Sharpe and the crew are rescued by Captain Chase, the hunt is on, which leads them to meet Nelson and fight in the Battle of Trafalgar.

This is another very good entry in the series, though I must say I don’t care for nautical fic
Nancy Ellis
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whew! That last third of this book takes you through the Battle of Trafalgar, and when you finally reach the last page, you realize you've been holding your breath the whole time! Sharpe is making his way from India back to England to join the 95th Rifles. On board, of course, is a beautiful woman and her not-very-nice husband. Well, it is a Sharpe story after all.....there HAS to be a woman!! Meanwhile, the ship is captured by a French ship, then re-captured by a British, so on and so forth unt ...more
Mr. Kovach
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
A terrific little pulp historical fiction. I see now there are SO many "Sharpe" books; don't reckon I'll make my way through them but Cornwell's definitely got talent and this was an engaging narrative. I love historical fiction and previously read the author's book about Agincourt which was also good. This one here, about Trafalgar, will successfully engage any history lover. BTW wow Nelson was a badass admiral. Most unfortunate for the French that Napolean and the French Revolution had jettiso ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Sharpe at sea. Heroic and noble with a pinch of rough, our man Sharpe manages to befriend the good and bump into the bad with a skill that holds no subtleties. On his return to England, from india, Sharpe manages to get into a bit of hanky-panky with a married woman, be robbed of his hard-earned fortune and then play an active role in the battle of Trafalgar. Gosh! what a hero!
But the story is well-written and holds you from the very start. It's entertaining and even a little educational. What m
Christa - Ron Paul 2016
The only thing I have a problem with about Richard Sharpe is his moral code. In most cases I don't really mind, but even in fiction I cannot condone adultery. Yes there are all the details in the book that makes it "okay" by today's standards, but on the point of adultery I still hold to old fashioned views, it is never okay. For that I docked one star from what would usually be a five star book.

Other than that I love the book and the story as always was educational and extremely interesting.
Steve Archer
Maybe it's just because I had the same problem with Dan Brown but starting to find the whole series somewhat repetitive.

Sharpe can't be seen for anything more than his past, a high ranking official takes a shine to him, they go through some bad times, sharpe disregards orders to leave the bad guy alive and the next book starts.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sharpe has somehow been shoehorned in to the battle of Trafalgar and is found to be very much at sea and out of his depth (see what I did there).

As usual the formulae stays the same; Intrigue + Girl + Danger + Battle + Revenge = Victory.

Never the less it was a Jolly Romp that caused no harm, except possibly a minor powder burn to Historical Accuracy.
Drew Ck
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ensign Sharpe proves he's just as deadly on the high seas as he is on solid ground. ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Although I thoroughly enjoyed Cornwell’s “Warlord” series (Uhted & King Alfred) and the previous books of the Sharpe series, I found it hard to get through this book. Perhaps it was due to the different battle location (at sea instead of one land) even though I found Uhtred’s sea adventures exciting.

I could not accept the villianization of hapless secretary, poorly treated by his boss, Lord Hale (who doesn’t even mourn his death). I actually identified with the secretary, born into a poor family
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve read quite a few books by Bernard Cornwall, and always enjoyed them, but wasn’t sure if I’d like the Sharpe series. I was a bit prejudiced in my anticipation of a Sean Bean type bullying his way around some battlefield or another.
I really did enjoy this book however. I'd not read the previous ones in the series, and am still not sure if I can read them in any thing other than the chronological order of the stories, this being number 4.
Sharpe is now an Ensign, promoted up from the ranks for
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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 birth mother's maiden n ...more

Other books in the series

Sharpe (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe, #1)
  • Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe, #2)
  • Sharpe's Fortress (Sharpe, #3)
  • 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)
  • Sharpe's Fury (Sharpe, #11)

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