When I started reading the Sharpe books I was lucky enough to be able to start from the first book in the chronology, (Sharpe’s Tiger) rather than the first book Cornwell wrote (Sharpe’s Eagle). I have stuck to reading them chronologically ever since, and was also fortunate that when the most recent book came out (Sharpe’s Fury) I hadn’t reached that point, indeed I was only about one book prior to it’s placement in the timeline.
Anyway, having finished the excellent Ash & Bone by John Harvey, I did as planned and picked up the next Sharpe in the chronology which happened to be the novella Sharpe’s Christmas, adapted by Cornwell from an even shorter story he wrote for a newspaper to publish in three parts over Christmas one year.
A ‘mammoth’ 55 pages long, this is a cheeky short story which reunites Sharpe with an old friend and ally (albeit a Frenchman) and contains some action as well as the usual dose of bad luck for one of his Ensign’s. When it was published it was bound with another Sharpe story, Sharpe’s Ransom, which comes later in the sequence, so I have left it back on the shelf for now.