Sharpe’s Assassin: Richard Sharpe and the Occupation of Paris, 1815

Harper. (The Sharpe Series, Bk. 22). ISBN 9780062563262. $27.99. F
The plot of the latest installment in Cornwell’s historical fiction series picks up immediately after the action in 1990’s Sharpe’s Waterloo (rather than the most recently published Sharpe novel, 2006’s Sharpe’s Fury). The Battle of Waterloo is barely over, Napoleon has been defeated, and the Duke of Wellington has orders for his protégé, the rifleman Richard Sharpe. Sharpe must travel to France, rescue a British spy who’s been captured on the hunt for looted art, and then infiltrate Paris. Sharpe leads his undermanned and exhausted band to break into a prison and free the undercover agent. They then sneak into the big city, riven between supporters of the defeated emperor and the old king, not to mention fear of the victorious British and Prussians. Rumors of a secret tunnel and tight-knit squad of Bonaparte loyalists, bent on killing Wellington and other European leaders, turn out to be true. There is also a duel by the light of a burning mansion. Sharpe keeps looking over his shoulder for his beloved French wife Lucille and their baby, who have followed him to Paris, even as he senses that he may have fought one battle too many.
VERDICT Here is another gritty and exciting episode in Cornwell’s long-running historical series, seen through the eyes of a common yet extraordinary soldier.
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