The very first Sharpe book – and if you own an original hardback (of any of the first four or five books) with its dust jacket then take care of it – it’s valuable. I’ve never dared to re-read the book, but so far as I remember it tells the tale of the battle of Talavera and, of course, the plot concerns the need to capture a French ‘eagle’; the battle standard given by Napoleon to each of his fighting regiments.
I began writing Sharpe in 1980 and he’s still going strong. I never thought there would be this many books – I imagined there might be ten or eleven – but then along came Sean Bean and the television programmes and I virtually began a whole new Sharpe series.
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