We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

Click on each name to read the review. If you would like to become part of the Viking Book Club, sign up sign up here >>


David Morgan

The background to this novel is the victory of the English over the French at the battle of Waterloo. Our hero Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe is the accomplished if extremely ruthless commander of a battalion who are answerable to the ultimate commander The Duke of Wellington. Sharpe is highly regarded by his men and also by the Duke who recognises in him an effective, efficient if somewhat unorthodox soldier. Sharpe is a loose cannon- no pun intended- who is sent on a mission to seek out a group of fanatical revolutionaries intent on pursuing the aims of Napoleon even though he has been defeated. It is not a book for the squeamish. The violence is unrelenting and its actuality is absolute. Cornwell‘s descriptions are vivid and he clearly shows a capacity for bringing out the undoubted cruelty of war and of the times. We never feel that Sharpe will fail. He is the hero at all times. It is a matter of personal opinion if you feel that is realistic and/or what the reader wants. If you like the details of battle, of action and of an English hero who fights on come what may, then this a book for you.

Michael Lockwood

This is the first Bernard Cornwall book that I have read, I thought it would be a daunting experience to read in the time given, but it was not at all difficult, I found that Sharpe’s Assassin was a very compelling story that kept me wanting more and I was able to read the book very quickly, I found it absorbing and engaging. The story follows on from the battle of Waterloo that leads Sharpe and his battalion to Paris, stopping at a French prison to rescue prisoners who are being held, there with the likelihood of them being executed as spies, they are looking for one in particular who is a spy for the Duke of Wellington and has information regarding a secret organisation of French assassins, that want to aggrieve the failure of Napoleons army’s at Waterloo and to kill the Duke of Wellington. The story then continues with Sharpe and his men in there attempt to locate this group of people, and all the trials and tribulations in doing so. I found the respect that Sharpe had for his men very refreshing which reflected in them fighting with their very soul for him. An excellent read.

Ray Munden

Bernard Cornwell mixes historical fact with a little poetic licence. You are transported to battles and other dangerous situations, holding little back. You can visualise each scene, the violence is not gratuitous but based on fact, so not for the sensitive. Cornwall has an eye for describing battle scenes, skirmishes, he includes historical facts, and the mental impact of years of fighting. This book is slightly different to most of the others, as it is not set on a battlefield. It starts just after the Battle of Waterloo. In the first few pages you get some of his history as he has risen through the ranks. He has to rescue a British prisoner from a French fort. Then goes to Paris, where Sharpe has to find a group trying to assassinate Wellington. This is Paris after the defeat of Napoleon. He is ably assisted by the ever loyal Irishman Harper, who provides some humorous moments. There are the usual characters: A devious, ruthless, villain; incompetent British officers, descriptive battles scenes, and an exciting climax. If you like being transported to a different world with plenty of action, and a constantly changing story, this is for you. Enjoy.

Pam Nicholson

Sharpe’s Assassin is set in France at the end of the Battle of Waterloo and follows Sharpe and his troops carrying out the instructions of the Duke of Wellington as they proceed on their march to take control of Paris. It is not a genre I have ever read before so I was very interested to see if I would enjoy it. The author describes both the scenes and the characters in such a way as to leave the reader in no doubt as to where they are or what kind of people the main characters are. I particularly liked the way that you saw both sides of Sharpe. Ruthless and cruel to his enemies while caring and compassionate to his troops and those loyal to him. There are many who try to prevent Sharpe from carrying out his instructions and I enjoyed that the enemy are not always who you think they are. The story flows in such a way that putting the book down can at times be difficult. I did, though, always look forward to getting back to the story. This was the first time I had read a Bernard Cornwell novel but it certainly won’t be my last.

Stuart MacGRegor

Bernard Cornwell’s catalogue of historical novels about the adventures of Richard Sharpe grows ever longer, and Sharpe’s Assassin, his book about the immediate events following the Battle of Waterloo, is a fast paced lope through the days after that event, when Napoleon was on the run. Sharpe, now a trusted senior officer he is charged by the Duke of Wellington with ensuring that the British army secures Paris. Sharpe has form as a ruthless killer and he needs all his guile and experience to ensure success. The description of the privations of ordinary soldiers and camp followers on both sides is sympathetically written, and hints at the human side of Sharpe’s character. Cornwell’s description of the battle itself is cursory, but it’s covered well enough elsewhere. If you like a good yarn, the author’s style and authority will suit you well.

Brenda Mills

This novel is the twenty-first in the long historical saga of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Sharpe and is set in June 1815 immediately after the Battle of Waterloo during the occupation of Paris. Sharpe, in command of the Prince’s Own Volunteers, has been ordered by the Duke of Wellington to lead his men into France and rescue a British spy. In typical Sharpe fashion there is a certain amount of violence involved in successfully penetrating the captive’s stronghold. Upon his return to the army Sharpe is less than pleased to learn that one of his old adversaries, Charles Morris, has been drafted into his battalion. The plot is exciting and fast moving and as always Sharpe deviates slightly from his mission to attend to matters more personal to him and encounters opposition but, as always, overcomes various difficulties in execution of his duties. Wellington’s progress in Paris continues and although his does get injured, Sharpe leads his men to success in battle. Sharpe is further injured in a fencing fight and whether that adversary is in fact Sharpe’s assassin, or whether he lives on to fight further public and personal battles, will only be discovered by the reader as the tale unfolds.

Pam Hook

Having never read any other books in the Sharpe series nor seen any television adaptations I was unsure of what I would discover within its pages. In this book I found a career soldier of high integrity who led his men from the front and was well respected by his fellow soldiers and who showed that even from a very humble start in life great things can be achieved. There’s even a romantic element in it. It is based on the Napoleonic war, with a little author licence, but shows the futility of war and all its ramifications. I would recommend this book for male and female readers and will read others in the series.

Christine Jenkins

Despite the fact that the previous book in the series, Sharpe’s Waterloo, was published thirty-one years earlier, this episode is set in 1815, just after the Battle of Waterloo has been won. And instead of the usual battlefields in France and the Iberian Peninsula, we are transported to Paris, where Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe and a battalion of men are sent to seek out and destroy a secretive group of fanatical soldiers, loyal to Bonaparte and seeking revenge. So, a more personal challenge for our hero than we have seen to date. Having thoroughly enjoyed the TV series many years’ ago, it didn’t take long to identify with the familiar roguish characters of Sharpe and his sidekick, Sergeant Major Harper. Whilst there are no complicated plots or sub-plots, the mission unfolds in typical gung-ho style and therefore keeps the interest going. Although who is going to win in the end is fairly predictable. Nevertheless, I found this an enjoyable read and recommend it as a book that can easily be read on a short cruise.

Steven Luke

This is first-rate historical fiction and an enjoyable read. This would not have been a natural choice for me so I am glad I joined the Viking Book Club to introduce me to Lt. Col. Richard Sharp in charge of a riffle battalion in the British army at the Battle of Waterloo, a man with a reputation, and his unconventional methods make him a formidable opponent. It was enlightening to read about the battle and his adventure in the suburbs of Paris. An excellent book and I can’t wait to read more of Sharpe’s adventures.