Bernard Cornwell, without exception, is my favorite historical fiction writer. He has written many historical fiction books and series, including the Richard Sharpe Series. He recently finished the final book in the Series entitled Sharpe’s Assassin.
A great book series is hard to find. It is difficult to keep intriguing story lines and continue to develop characters. Cornwell is a master at both of these in several different series.
Once an author decides to end a series, I always hate to read the last book. You get very familiar with the characters and there is a certain comfort knowing that another book is coming to continue the adventure. This is even more so with the Sharpe Series. I have been reading the books for more than 20 years, many of them twice. I know that Cornwell wrote many of them in order and later filled in some gaps with newer books, but this latest book seems a little more final. It appears that the Richard Sharpe character is finally done.
As with the other books in the Series, the character development is strong and the plot is engaging. Cornwell’s writing sucks the reader in and does not let go. In Sharpe’s Assassins, Cornwell introduces you to Alan Fox (an eccentric British art collector ordered to recover art stolen by Napoleon and who assists Sharpe in a plot to cause chaos with the Allied forces in Paris) and Colonel Lanier (a French officer reportedly helping to lead the chaos). These two men cause headaches for Sharpe. But, Sharpe is joined by the ever-faithful and powerful Sergeant Harper to help him with the latest adventure.
The action scenes are realistic, especially with the storming of a castle and the battle at the end. The plot is very believable. Sharpe and Fox are tasked by Wellington to hunt down and find a group of assassins.
Without revealing the end, I like how Cornwell ends Sharpe’s adventures in the last battle and afterward.