Bernard is best known for his Sharpe novels set in the 19th century Peninsular war. These wars are better known as the Napoleonic Wars. The stories follow the adventures of Rifleman Sharpe from his days as a simple conscript through his gradual rise through the ranks. The stories are full of action and adventure, along with numerous love affairs, and marriage. He faces the might of the Imperial forces of Napoleon along with the personal enmity of fellow officers, common soldiers, scorned lovers and enemy agents. The books are based around fact, sometimes using artistic licence to make a good story.
The tales of Rifleman Sharpe are being gradually expanded. Recent novels have been pre-quels to the main series telling of Sharpes adventures in India, and the journey from India to Spain where true glory awaits him.
At the time of writing (July 2008) it looks as if the Sharpe series has finally run its term, as there appear to be no new stories in the pipeline. This may not be a bad thing, as Sharpe has been to hell and back and it's time to earn a rest.
With the demise of Sharpe (my view it may not be true) his other series - namely the Viking saga is starting to mature nicely. This author is definitely still on the up, and freed from the shackles of two novels a year is certainly maintaining quality.
If you are looking for a new author to try, then Bernard's work will not disappoint, and I would suggest an early Sharpe novel, such as Sharpe's Rifles (The titles before this book were written later) as the perfect start.
The latest title of 1356 is again a superb novel, with a perfect mixture of atmosphere and action. I'm amazed at the quality of output, and long may it continue! He may only deliver one book a year, but I will always go for quality over quantity.(2013)
15 Feb. 2022