Table of Contents
is the eleventh volume in Bernard Cornwell's acclaimed Richard Sharpe series, which takes the hero to the famous battle of Waterlooâand beyond. Several novels in the series have been made into a television miniseries. Bernard Cornwell was born in London and lives in Chatham, Massachusetts.
THE SHARPE SERIES FROM PENGUIN BOOKS
1. SHARPE'S RIFLES
2. SHARPE'S EAGLE
3. SHARPE'S GOLD
4. SHARPE'S COMPANY
5. SHARPE'S SWORD
6. SHARPE'S ENEMY
7. SHARPE'S HONOR
8. SHARPE'S REGIMENT
9. SHARPE'S SIEGE
10. SHARPE'S REVENGE
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,
Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pry Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd,
Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads,
Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pry) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in Great Britain by William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1990
First published in the United States of America by Viking
Penguin Inc., a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. 1990
Published in Penguin Books 1991
This edition published in 2001
Rifleman Productions Ltd., 1987
All rights reserved
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA:
Waterloo/Bernard Cornwell. p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-15362-8
1. Waterloo, Battle of, 1815âFiction.
2. Great BritainâHistory, Militaryâ19th century-Fiction.
Set in Baskerville
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.
is for Judy, with all my love.
THE FIRST DAY
Thursday, 15 June 1815
It was dawn on the northern frontier of France; a border marked only by a shallow stream which ran between the stunted trunks of pollarded willows. A paved high road forded the stream. The road led north from France into the Dutch province of Belgium, but there was neither guardpost nor gate to show where the road left the French Empire to enter the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There was just the summer-shrunken stream from which a pale mist drifted to lie in shadowy skeins across the plump fields of wheat and rye and barley.
The rising sun appeared like a swollen red ball suspended low in the tenuous mist. The sky was still dark in the west. An owl flew over the ford, banked into a beechwood and gave a last hollow call, which was lost in the dawn's loud chorus that seemed to presage a bright hot summer's day in this rich and placid countryside. The cloudless sky promised a day for haymaking, or a day for lovers to stroll through heavy-leafed woods to rest beside the green cool of a streambank. It was a perfect midsummer's dawn on the northern border of France and for a moment, for a last heart-aching moment, the world was at peace.
Then hundreds of hooves crashed through the ford, spattering water bright into the mist. Uniformed men, long swords in their hands, rode north out of France. The men were Dragoons who wore brass helmets covered with drab cloth so the rising sun would not reflect from the shining metal to betray their position. The horsemen had short-barrelled muskets thrust into bucket holsters on their saddles.
The Dragoons were the vanguard of an army. A hundred and twenty-five thousand men were marching north on every road that led to the river-crossing at Charleroi. This was invasion; an army flooding across an unguarded frontier with wagons and coaches and ambulances and three hundred and forty-four guns and thirty thousand horses and portable forges and pontoon bridges and whores and wives and colours and lances and muskets and sabres and all the hopes of France. This was the Emperor Napoleon's Army of the North and it marched towards the waiting Dutch, British and Prussian forces.
The French Dragoons crossed the frontier with drawn swords, but the weapons served no purpose other than to dignify the moment with a suitable melodrama, for there was not so much as a single Dutch customs officer to oppose the invasion. There were just the mist and the empty roads, and the far-off crowing of cockerels in the dawn. A few dogs barked as the invading cavalrymen captured the first Dutch villages unopposed. The Dragoons hammered their sword hilts against doors and window shutters, demanding to know whether any British or Prussian soldiers were billeted within.
âThey're all to the north. They hardly ever show themselves here!' The villagers spoke French; indeed, they thought of themselves as French citizens and consequently welcomed the helmeted Dragoons with cups of wine and offers of food. To these reluctant Dutchmen the invasion was a liberation, and even the weather matched their joy; the sun was climbing into a cloudless sky and beginning to burn off the mist which still clung in the leafy valleys.