Sharpe’s Rifles (Sharpe Series Book 6) by Bernard Cornwell 8*

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Lieutenant Richard Sharpe and a detachment of riflemen join the assault of a strong French force holding the Holy City of Santiago de Compostela. They are cut off from the rest of the army and surrounded. Their only hope of escape is to accept the help of the Spanish, but this assistance comes at a price. Soldier, hero, rogue – Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

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This was the first book in the original series. It has a lot of action and sets up the rest of the series nicely.