Sharpe's Prey represents one of Cornwell's earlier episodes in the career of Richard Sharpe. This is a rougher Sharpe; less secure than we will get to know him in later novels. Sharpe is but just come back from India and is but at the beginning of his career.
The setting for this novel is Europe in 1807. France, desperately wanting to attack England is prevented from doing so only by the British navy which stands in its way. France last its navy at Trafalgar and is eyeing the fleet of small, neutral Denmark as a replacement.Currently the Danish fleet is ensconced in Copenhagen's heavily defended inner harbour.
Sharpe, put off at his ill treatment by the British military is ready to defect to the Danish as the British fleet lobs bombs and shells at Copenhagen.
That, in a thumb-nail is the plot. There are spies; traitors; double-crossers; and ladies to lose a heart to.
On the Cornwell gore, violence and murder scale, I would say this rates at perhapsn a six out of ten.
Regardless, as always, Cornwell's books: well worth reading.
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