Since I saw the first Sharpe TV Movie the Napoleonic Wars have held a certain interest for me and I admit to seeking out all of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books over the years, as well as all the TV Movies.
Next year (2015, this year by the time most people read this) sees the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, as we British call it anyway. I’ve never bothered to collect and paint a true Napolenoic army (yes I have a big Slaughterloo army covering Krautians and Orcs) and whilst I doubt I ever will the interest is there. So when I saw Bernard Cornwell’s historical text on Waterloo at half price I picked it up. Now that was a few months ago now, but I’ve finally finished reading it. I already had Mark Adkin’s Waterloo Companion on my shelf, but this is a great addition to that text. What Cornwell lacks in maps and diagrams he makes up for in his writing style and the quotes from various soldiers on all three sides. The strapline (not sure I got the right phrase there) is “The history of four days, three armies and three battles.” It certainly covers what it says on the tin there.
In fact the book covers more than 4 days starting with the escape of Napoleon to the final victory of the allies at Waterloo. It moves from the classic “Napoleon has humbugged me, by God!”, through the battles of Quatre-Bras, Ligny and of course Waterloo, the fighting at Wavre is mentioned as part of the battle of Waterloo. It is clear throughout that Cornwell has researched the three battles very well and had certainly made use of some of the research from Sharpe’s Waterloo. If you have an interest in military history then I really do recommend you get a copy of this book and read it, to often the Napoleonic Wars are forgotten but too many men died in them keeping europe free for us to forget.