Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sharpe's Prey By Bernard Cornwell

My apologies for yet another Bernard Cornwell book. I know they've got to be getting boring by now in some aspects. I only have a few more to ramble out and I'll be done with Bernard for a little while. I've got a few others, like Jade Man's Skin, Vampire Wars, and Revelation, all by different authors, to hit soon.

Neutral won't cut it. Denmark isn't part of the war between France and England but they have resources, in the form of a navy, that France wants and England can't allow to fall into enemy hands. As President George W Bush said, "You're either with us, or against us."  When the giants are clashing, trying to sit back on the side lines either to try and get the best deal out of the situation or an honest fear of becoming enrolled in the war, will not cut it.

In gaming campaigns, you might think, that doesn't necessarily have to happen. One of the best examples of thing in television would be Babylon 5 when Kosh, states something like, "Once the boulders roll, the peples cannot speak." as his people, the Vorlons, begin to destroy any planet or civilization that hosts the Vorlon enemy, the Shadows.

Even in the modern world outside my window, America invaded its ally Pakistan in order to get a mass murderer who was essentially hanging out outside one of their military schools. In other areas, American unmanned drones or other air strikes, are killing civilians. This collateral damage creates a lot of hatred for the countries inflicting it, but it doesn't stop it.

Another potential problem for players, may be that their own contacts and allies in a location are under threat of death. In this book, one of the inhabitants of Denmark has been an ally to England, providing information and intelligence. He will not leave Denmark and so, to England at least, he and his daughter, become dangerous to the safety of all of those other people that the spy has contact with. A spy that cannot act as a spy and is probably going to fall into enemy hands? Not long for this world.

These are not the acts of good people. These are prudent and coldly calculated thoughts. These issues may be things that players cannot find themselves doing but may see being done around them.

The Sharpe series continues with all of the hailing points of previous books in the series. We have Sharpe in need of a mission, in need of service. We have the typical beautiful woman who Sharpe will romance and know. We have the villain, a clever man whose proven his worth already by killing the man Sharpe is to replace on this misson. Like James Bond, the signature elements are there and Cornwell weaves them into quick and entertaining story.