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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Sharpe's Rifles

By Bernard Cornwell
Penguin Books, 304 pp,1988

A friend turned me on to Bernard Cornwell, knowing that I enjoy historical fiction. So I did my usual stalling before I checked this out from the library.

It's a fine book, part of a long series with Sharpe, who is an officer in the British army helping the Spanish rid Spain of Napoleon's army. In this book, Sharpe becomes a Lieutenant for the first time and must win over his skeptical and his mutinous men. He is cut off from his army and alone in the mountains of Spain, caught in the freezing cold of winter.

But then a certain Blas Vivar shows up with his group of cavalry with a mysterious chest that holds, according to Vivar, only papers. But Sharpe suspects it's more than that, and he's right. It's something a bit more fascinating - and unbelievable.

So that's the premise. It's a fun read, with great battle scenes that avoid becoming monotonous, and likeable characters. Cornwell reminds me of Louis L'Amour. Like L'Amour, he's not the best writer in the world but a fine storyteller (L'Amour was a master storyteller).

So I'm glad I read this and I'll probably read more Cornwell.

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