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Cornwell, Bernard

sharpe lieutenant

(British, 1944– )

Born in London, after a successful career in television Cornwell moved to the United States in 1980 and became a full-time writer. Begin with Sharpe's Eagle (1981), the first of his numerous treatments of the Napoleonic wars, which takes place in Spain during the Talavera Campaign of 1809. Richard Sharpe, Cornwell's pugnaciously capable and courageous working-class hero, having risen through the ranks to lieutenant, overcomes disorder and treachery to save his regiment's honour. Sharpe's Waterloo (1990) finds him, by now a lieutenant-colonel on the staff of the inept Prince William of Orange, rising to his finest hour in a compellingly detailed account of the battle. Cornwell's other works include The Winter King (1995), an ambitious reworking of Arthurian legend, which reflects radical historical change as Christianity displaces paganism and the Saxon invasions proceed.

George MacDonald Fraser, Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester  DH

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