Sharpe's Trafalgar - Bernard Cornwell Normally, I would like to read series in order, but in Cornwell' very popular Sharpe series, he is writing them out of chronological sequence, so that' impossible. This one takes place fourth sequentially, but is the most recent of seventeen to be published. Cornwell is prolific and a master storyteller.

The story opens with Sharpe in India, having been there several years but now about to return to England having joined up with the 95th Rifles. He' an ensign, a low ranking officer promoted out of the ranks. Being wise to the ways of crooks, he helps out an English naval officer who had been cheated out of several hundred pounds. Apparently it was the practice of travelers to bring their own furniture when traveling by ship and there existed a thriving business reselling furniture of those who had recently arrived from England and no longer needed the equipment they had used on the voyage.

The ploy was to sell the furniture, promising delivery to the ship before it left, then have the warehouse burn down and the owner ostensibly killed. In reality, he escaped, as did all the items in the warehouse, and the goods were then sold again by a cousin, both of the culprits making a tidy profit. As the first seller was supposed to be dead, there was no legal recourse. Sharpe sniffed out the plot and helped himself and the naval officer to recoup their money. Befriending Captain Chase, the naval officer, Sharpe finds himself on Chase's ship the Pucelle, a seventy-four, and in a chase after the Revenant a French warship carrying a spy back to France with some important information related to the India campaign.

Rake that he is, Sharpe soon is heavily involved with Lady Grace, wife of the haughty Lord Williams, sleeping with her ostensibly behind everyone's back. Lord Williams' secretary Braithwaite becomes aware of their involvement and Sharpe kills him, making it look as if Braithwaite had falling down a ladder. Sharpe would like to kill Williams, too, but apparently his conscience prohibits killing those higher on the social ladder. Grace is soon pregnant, but before an immediate resolution, the Pucelle and the Revenant, find themselves in the midst of the British and French fleets at Trafalgar. Cornwell is a master storyteller.