Monday, October 13, 2008

How to Write a Novel Series: Bernard Cornwell's 'Sharpe' Series

British actor Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe in the TV series based on Bernard Cornwell's series of novels which document the exploits of Sharpe, a fictional British soldier (and later officer), primarily during the Napoleonic wars. Bean is best recognized (in the U.S.) for his portrayal of Boromir, eldest and favorite son of Denethor, the last steward of Gondor in the last of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, The Return of the King. I have fond memories, from my otherwise "meh" days in seventh grade in southern Virginia, of eagerly reading through Cornwell's Sharpe novels or listening to them on books-on-tape. Sharpe's Waterloo, in particular, was a favorite and from Cornwell's crisp, engaging writing I imagined that I was at the small Belgian town in 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte, escaped from exile on the island of Elba, attempted to return as emperor of France by defeating the British and allied forces under the First Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, and the Prussians under the crochety old Field Marshall Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. The novel series is highly recommended. It's also been made into a British TV series starring Bean.

"Richard Sharpe is the central character in Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series of historical fiction stories. These formed the basis for an ITV television series wherein the eponymous character was played by Sean Bean.

Cornwell's series (composed of several novels and short stories) charts Sharpe's progress in the British Army during the Napoleonic wars. He begins as a Private in Sharpe's Tiger gradually promoted to a field commission of Lieutenant Colonel in Sharpe's Waterloo. They dramatise his struggle for acceptance and respect from his fellow officers and from the men he commands. Sharpe was born a guttersnipe in the rookeries of London. Promoted on the battlefield he leaves his own class behind to take a commission in an army where rank is usually bought. Unlike many of the officers he serves with, Sharpe knows how to fight.

Sharpe is described as "brilliant but wayward" in Sharpe's Sword, and is acknowledged by the author to be a loose cannon. A highly skilled leader of light troops, he takes part in a wide array of historical events during the Napoleonic Wars and other conflicts, including the Battle of Waterloo. The earliest chronological books (they were published in non-chronological order) are set in India and chronicle Sharpe's years spent in the ranks. He is known for being a dangerous man to have as an enemy; he is a skilled marksman and grows to be a good swordsman."

Read the rest HERE.

Part 1 from Sharpe's Gold.

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