I’m in love with a soldier. His name is Richard and he wears a green jacket and carries a cavalry sword—a big heavy one meant for killing, not fencing. He is an officer but be aware that he is no gentleman, something his fellow officers continually mention. His best comrade in arms is named Harper and he has a darling Donegal accent and a Nock gun. It shoots seven volleys at once and it’s a good thing Harper’s a big boy because the recoil from that gun will break the shoulders of most men. They both came up hard. Richard enlisted to escape the law and Patrick was just looking for a few square meals. They did well in the army, rising to unimaginable ranks and winding up richer than anyone could have believed thanks to all the loot they captured. I met them through the magic of PBS and the BBC but I got to know them both better when I read their stories.
Of course, Richard and Patrick only exist between the covers of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s novels. I love historical fiction but for the most part have always shied away from the stuff meant for the guys and stuck more closely with Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I’ll admit it, I skim the battle scenes in Cornwell’s books because there is some stuff I just don’t want to know. However, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the Napoleonic Wars and in a manner so pleasant I was hooked before I realized what was actually happening. I gave Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey a try as well, since they are contemporaries of Richard’s, but despite the fine writing and sterling research of C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brien, it appears that I prefer soldiers to sailors. Go Army!