My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was not the right book for me. I read it out of family loyalty, honestly. It wasn’t poorly written–in fact, it’s a great example of really detailed historical fiction, and that’s impressive–but I just did not care. I tried, I really did, but this book was a very strong “meh” for me.
Private Richard “Dick” Sharpe is in the British army in 1799, fighting a war he doesn’t really understand or have any genuine interest in at all. In fact, he’s considering deserting, because the army is “boring.”
It quickly becomes less boring as he’s set up for assaulting an officer (who really really deserved that punch) and nearly dies thanks to the British “correctional” plan of flogging a man for any crime under the sun. But Sharpe is snatched from the jaws of horrible death by happenstance and a problem that needs a regular man with a bit of wit about him–sneaking in to the enemy Indian city to rescue, or at least take a message from, the captured officer inside.
I won’t give much more away, but of course Sharpe becomes the day’s hero and all is concluded with everyone but the enemy better off than he was before.
You’ll need an interest in military maneuvers for this book to work for you. I thought it was enough to like history, but no, this is a military history book above all else. It comes close to giving Sharpe the daring-do of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt, but falls short, and though he’s clever, Sharpe is also common, so he’s no James Bond either. It’s refreshing, in a way, that the hero is far more average than most action books, but…for me, that also left him rather boring. He doesn’t so much as act as react to his surroundings, and though he does it remarkably well, I struggled to stay interested in this one.
Do give it a shot if you like reading detailed explanations of old fights, though.