Fiction’s most famous Rifleman returns — and it’s miraculous he’s still alive

It has been 15 years since the last Richard Sharpe novel, and it’s a pleasure to report that fiction’s most famous Rifleman is still thriving, miraculous as that may seem after his long and suicidally dangerous career. Sharpe, a foundling child from the East End of London, brings street fighting skills to the business of soldiering. He has risen slowly and painfully through the ranks, campaigning in India during the 1790s and in Spain during the Peninsular war. At the start of this book, he has just saved the day at Waterloo with a typical combination of tactical skill, reckless courage and unorthodox thinking (in this case shooting the Prince