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This is Bernard Cornwell's first novel, written as a means of providing him with an income while living with his American fiancée in her home country where he could not get a work visa.
Cornwell’s plan and he had wanted to start with the Siege of Badajoz but on reflection, he felt that this was too ambitious for his first novel and so decided to start with a couple of easier books as a warm-up. Cornwell also wanted to find a task just as impossible as the taking of Badajoz for his first adventure, and so the capture of a Regimental Eagle from a French Regiment provided the challenge the author felt necessary to establish the reputation of both Sharpe and his close friend, Sergeant Patrick Harper.
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