Friday, January 15, 2010

Gaming Inspiration - Richard Sharpe Books

I've read several books now in the Richard Sharpe Series by Bernard Cornwell. The series follows the heroic exploits of a man in the British army during the Napoleonic wars. Richard Sharpe starts out the series, in Sharpe's Tiger, as a lowly private in an infantry regiment under Sir Arthur Wellesley in India. He soon becomes a Sergeant, then is commissioned as an officer, and moves up the ranks due in no small part to his heroic deeds in the climax of each book.

Those I have read so far have all been quite entertaining. Formulaic, certainly, like James Bond stories or the like. There are usually jealous colleagues, incompetent officers, and nefarious villains do deal with, and naturally he bests them all, while getting the girl. Often while playing a pivitol role in some important historical event of the era. They are clearly action/adventure stories, not serious realistic dramas, so as expected they take some liberties. But they are fun to read and seem pretty well researched historically. For a wargamer interested in the period, the battle sequences are particularly noteworthy. They give a very good idea of the tactical considerations of Napoleonic battles, and are quite exciting to read. The books also are inspirational in that they give a good impression of the life of soldiers in an army of that period.

I have found that reading them has been a great way to inspire me in the historical gaming. Also, the entire Sharpe series appears to be out as Audio books. I like to listen to them on my drive to work, but listening while painting miniatures would also be a good way to set the mood, and do some serious multi-tasking. If you want to read them in the order in which the take place, there is a list of the books in chronological order near the bottom of the wikipedia page here.

Here is a link to the list of Richard Sharpe books. The author, Bernard Cornwell, has also written many other historical fiction books, including a series taking place in the American Civil War. I haven't read any of these others, but I've heard good things about them. Here is a link to the list of Bernard Cornwell books.

If you've read any fictional books that inspire or motivate you in your historical miniature gaming hobby, I'd love to hear about them.

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