Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1)

Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1)

by Bernard Cornwell

Paperback(1 ED)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060932305
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/23/2012
Series: Sharpe Series , #1
Edition description: 1 ED
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 145,542
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

BERNARD CORNWELL is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales series, which includes The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, and, most recently, The Empty Throne and Warriors of the Storm, and which serves as the basis for the hit television series The Last Kingdom. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was funny, Richard Sharpe thought, that there were no vultures in England. None that he had seen, anyway. Ugly things they were. Rats with wings.

He thought about vultures a lot, and he had a lot of time to think because he was a soldier, a private, and so the army insisted on doing a ot of his thinking for him. The army decided when he woke up, when he slept, when he ate, when he marched, and when he was to sit about doing nothing and that was what he did most of the time—nothing. Hurry up and do nothing, that was the army's way of doing things, and he was fed up with it. He was bored and thinking of running.

Him and Mary. Run away. Desert. He was thinking about it now, and it was an odd thing to worry about right now because the army was about to give Richard Sharpe his first proper battle. He had been in one fight, but that was five years ago and it had been a messy, confused business in fog, and no one had known why the 33rd Regiment was in Flanders or what they were supposed to be doing there and in the end they had done nothing except fire some shots at the mist-shrouded French and the whole thing had been over almost before young Richard Sharpe had known it had begun. He had seen a couple of men lolled. He remembered Sergeant Hawthorne's death best because the Sergeant had been hit by a musket ball that drove a rib clean out of his red coat. There was hardly a drop of blood to be seen, just the white rib sticking out of the faded red cloth. "You could hang your hat on that," Hawthorne had said in a tone of wonder, then he had sobbed, and after that he had choked up blood and collapsed. Sharpe had gone on loadingand firing, and then, just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, the battalion had marched away and sailed back to England. Some battle.

Now be was in India. He did not know why he was invading Mysore and nor did he particularly care. King George III wanted Richard Sharpe to be in India, so in India Richard Sharpe was, but Richard Sharpe had now become bored with the King's service. He was young and he reckoned life had more to offer than hurrying up and doing nothing. There was money to be made. He was not sure how to make money, except by thieving, but he did know that he was bored and that he could do better than stay on the bottom of the dungheap. That was where he was, he kept telling himself, the bottom of a dungheap and everyone knew what was piled on top of a dungheap. Better to run, he told himself. All that was needed to get ahead in the world was a bit of sense and the ability to kick a bastard faster than the bastard could kick you, and Richard Sharpe reckoned he had those talents right enough.

Though where to run in India? Half the natives seemed to be in British pay and those would turn you in for a handful of tin pice, and the ice was only worth a farthing, and the other Indians were all fighting against the British, or readying to fight them, and if he ran to them he would just be forced to serve in their armies. He would fetch more pay in a native army, probably far more than the tuppence a day Sharpe got now after stoppages, but why change one uniform for another? No, he would have to ran to some place where the army would never find him, or else it would be the firing squad on some hot morning. A blast of musket shots, a scrape in the red earth for a grave, and next day the rats with wings would be yanking the guts out of your belly like a bunch of blackbirds tugging worms out of a land.

That was why he was thinking about vultures. He was thinking that he wanted to run, but that he did not want to feed the vultures. Do not get caught. Rule number one in the army, and the only rule that mattered. Because if you got caught the bastards would flog you to death or else reorganize your ribs with musket balls, and either way the vultures got fat.

The vultures were always there, sometimes circling oil long wings that tilted to the sudden winds of the warm upper air and sometimes standing hunched on branches. They fed on death and a marching army gave them a glutton's diet, and now, in this last year of the eighteenth century, two allied armies were crossing this hot fertile plain in southern India. One was a British army and the other belonged to a British ally, the Nizam of Hyderabad, and both armies provided a feast of vulture fodder. Horses died, oxen died, camels died, even two of the elephants that had seemed so indestructible had died, and then the people died. The twin armies had a tail ten times longer than themselves: a great sprawl of camp followers, merchants, herders, whores, wives, and children, and among all of those people, as it did among the armies themselves, the plagues ran riot. Men died with bloody dysentery, or shaking with a fever or choking on their own vomit. They died struggling for breath or drenched in sweat or raving like mad things or with skins blistered raw. Men, women, and children all died, and whether they were buried or burned it did not matter because, in the end, the vultures fed on them anyway, for there was never enough time nor sufficient timber to make a proper funeral pyre and so the vultures would zip the half-cooked flesh off the scorched bones, and if the bodies were buried then no amount of stones heaped on the soil would stop the scavenging beasts from digging up the swollen, rotting flesh and the vultures' hooked beaks took what the ravenous teeth left behind.

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Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fabulous book. I am a voracious reader but only of good novels and as a measure of the goodness of the Sharpe series, not a single one has taken me more than a day to read. Fantastic stuff. Sharpe is in India at the turn of the 18th century. After a merciless whipping he is miraculously freed to go on a secret mission to infiltrate Seringapatam and foil the plans of the Tippoo sultan all the while hoping to rescue a Scottish colonel. He succeeds royally, killing the Tippoo, taking a considerable amount of wealth, and a promotion to sergeant. A great historical novel by Bernard Cornwell.
BenS858 More than 1 year ago
Ben S. Harris p5 English 22 September 2012 Sharpe's Tiger was quite the enjoyable read for me, as I am very much a history lover. Bernard Cornwell skillfully brings the reader back into the world of the British Empire and her territories. The setting is in 1799 India when the British Empire was in conflict with the Tippoo Sultan. The protagonist of the story, Richard Sharpe, is a Private in the British Army and he becomes tasked with contacting a Scottish Spy working for the Empire, however this spy is located within the Tippoo Sultan's city. If he completes his task Sharpe earns the rank of Sergeant, and the highest achievement of his career. The author, Bernard Cornwell, vividly describes men killing men, and writes some of the most jaw clenching, suspenseful, and most gripping battles I have ever read. The most prevalent theme throughout the novel is courage, and at the beginning of the book, Sharpe is contemplating deserting the army and running away with a love interest, Mary Bickerstaff. Instead of deserting, he puts himself in the middle of the enemy's home, posing as a friend of the Sultan. He must choose to betray Tippoo and risk being executed by him, or, if he fails his mission, falls prey to the wrath of the British Empire. This book was a fantastic read, and I am in the midst of acquiring the next novel in the series; I liked it a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This ebook looks like a bad scan and OCR job. Misspellings all over the place. Multiple spellings of the same name on the same page. All of these errors could have been easily fixed, but someone didn't bother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy military historical fiction you will like this series. Great descriptions of maneuvers and tactics. I just finished book four of the series and no doubt I will read them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Needs to be proofread better. There's about 78 pages of scanning errors that were missed - including incomplete sentences! Otherwise a good read.
MuldoonDT More than 1 year ago
I love Bernard Cornwell and the story was very good. Whoever converted the book to the Nook electronic version, however, did an awful job. There were incorrect words and misspellings on almost every page. The kind that spell check will overlook. Does anyone proof these versions?? Errors like this are very distracting and diminish the reading pleasure.
sdb More than 1 year ago
I am annoyed that the book jacket is not available on this ebook. Also, in this edition, the word "die" appears several times where the word should be "the." It's as if it was translated from German! So, my satisfaction with the ebook is not complete. The novel itself, however, is great. I don't think the Sharpe novels are the best of Cornwell's creations, but that's like saying a nine carat diamond isn't quite as good as a 10 carat diamond. Cornwell is a first-rate writer and, even though the Sharpe books lack some of the depth of his other novels, they are still great reads -- far better than the average in this genre.
Bonestcjmom on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Love Sharpe!! Love Cornwell's ability to tell and interesting story, even about stuff that females are not normally interested in.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I'm a big fan of CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower books about a British naval officer during and after the Napoleonic wars, and this has been praised as the Army equivalent. Richard Sharpe is a very different character, and I don't know if I'll become as attached to him as Hornblower, but after this novel I'm looking forward to the other novels detailing Sharpe's exploits and rise through the ranks. While certainly no gentleman, Sharpe does have a core of what one officer calls "kindness" and while not educated, he's clever and courageous. When we first meet him here, he's an illiterate private, a former thief, dreaming of desertion, and his insane and cruel sergeant is scheming to trap Sharpe into a flogging offense. The novel is strong in conveying what it's like serving in the British Army in 1799 India, all the little details from how they kept their hair to how they loaded their muskets. Besides the fictional characters it features real historical figures such as Arthur Wellesley, the future Lord Wellington. The novel is often suspenseful, particularly towards the close and delivers on nail-biting, heart-racing action adventure.
podocyte on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I just finished my first Bernard Cornwell book, Sharpe's Tiger. I enjoyed it but it didn't fill the gap left by Patrick O'brain.
JudithProctor on LibraryThing 3 days ago
One of the better Sharpe novels. The research by the writer shows in the best way. The descriptions of the Tipoo Sultan and his city add a lot to the flavour of the book.While it is improbably that Sharpe could be involved in so many key events relating to the siege of Seringapatam, that's taken as read for a military hero, so one accepts it as a given and enjoys the story.Excellent description of the siege. And a well-written female character (well-written by Cornwell's standards. Some of his women are very stereotypical)One of the things I've always liked about Cornwell's writing is that the people Sharpe is fighting are never displayed as one-sided bad guys. The Tipoo is portrayed as a brave man and a ruler who made sure not to offend his Hindu subjects (he was a Muslim).
BooksForDinner on LibraryThing 3 days ago
The first installment of the great Sharpe series. One of the most enjoyable historical-fiction series ever written.
wispywillow on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This is the third Sharpe book I've read (I'm starting the series over in chronological order), and it was interesting to see Sharpe as a Private instead of as an officer. I've also been curious as to the situation that led to his flogging, but now I know! And another mystery solved for me--why Hakeswill twitches. He really is an evil bastard. *shudders*The style of writing isn't my favorite, but I am warming to these books--thanks mainly to Sean Bean. *purrs* If I can picture him as Sharpe, then I can get through the entire series!I don't like Cornwell's women, though. They tend to be pathetic and insubstantial. Usually they're just background scenery: women crying, frightened women screaming, etc. I'm not a man-hating feminist, but I would like to see Cornwell give women a little more credit. But I suppose with the timeline and the fact that these are war books, I won't get my wish fulfilled. We'll see, though. I might get lucky yet.Aside from Sharpe, Lawford was my favorite character in this book. I hope I'll see more of him as I continue through the series.
Tatar_Khan on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Sharpe¿s Tiger is the novel by Bernard Cornwell, a well known historical fiction writer. The novel is also based around the well known historical fiction character that by this time is already has been celebrated through movies. Sharpe¿s Tiger is a definite historical fiction novel that describes the British campaign in India. So let¿s look at the book.The book¿ cover is perfectly reflects the military theme of the book and also reflects exactly the location the action of the book takes place making the book very attractive and the cover is in line with the plot.The use of the language is great. The language is not simple but is not either too delicate to ruin the novel about the military actions and the history of India. The military terms are well applied. The narration is done in third person and from the perspective of the different characters in the book for the purpose of allowing the reader to know more about all the main characters of the book and the events that influence them or led them to current situation. In this case the perspectives are mostly from the point of view of the French Colonel, Sharp and Colonel of the East India Company.The character development is also very nicely done. The character of Sharpe develops through the book as he goes from one out look on the army and the officers to the other. The book focuses on these changes to show how the characters of a person could be influenced by the event. The other characters are mostly defined and behave in fashion that is very delimitative of them. The use of these characters allows to see the wider picture of the war and the outlook on the events from different perspectives. The characters are very realistic; the Indians who are fighting against the British are not portrayed as evil enemy and the British as the good guys. All characters have their virtues and weaknesses. Both sides are shown as fighting the war no of morals but rather due to political and economic reasons. The Tippoo sultan who leads the Indians is shown as brave fighter and wise ruler. The themes of the book is that armies of the period and current ones too are hard places to live in not only due to the rigid discipline and training, but due to the interaction between the officers and the apparent unfairness the soldiers perceive is being done to them. At the same time reader is exposed to the difficulties of the command decisions. The book highlights the fact that officers often are unable to understand the soldiers and difficulties they face. Another theme is the discrimination present in the British rank not only against the Indians, but Irish and Scots. The discrimination as the book shows is unjust as all the soldiers of different ethnicities perform their duties properly and also shows that it is the English officer and sergeant who prove incapable or a coward. The portrayal of the enemy as an equal opponent rather than evil tyrant is another theme. While the common soldiers are shown to hold the opinion that their enemy is evil, the higher ranks do not share it. The causes of conflict are shown as more political and economic rather than moral. Finally, it is possible to see the theme that the person out of the slums could given the opportunity turn out to be a hero for all the selfish reasons. The plot moves along with a good speed, moving the events towards the reader and keeping him interested. The action is described also perfectly to make it vivid for the readers about what is happening. The fights are also described in the details. The story that is based on actual historic events is fitted perfectly into the historical events. There is nice touch by the author of putting in the historical note on the end of the book to allow the reader to see how the plot has been fitted into the history.The only flaw of the book that could be pointed out is a fact that Sharpe seems a bit being too good at fighting, thinking up plans and etc. This gives a small superhuman like feel to his cha
ocianain on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Cornwell is criticized by some for his historical inaccuracies, some are valid, in particular the Siege of Gawilghur, some are not (soldiers did pee in their rifles to clean them of residuue, they did short load their rifles). Regardless, he is a first rate writer and Sharpe rocks! If you're a guy, you'll like these books! If you're a woman that likes guys, you'll like these books (my wife loves them).
Joycepa on LibraryThing 3 months ago
First in the series. Richard Sharpe, in 1799, is a private in the British Army, stationed in India, which is fighting a war with the Tippoo of Mysore, a powerful Muslim ruler. Sharpe and a Lieutenant Lawford go on an undercover mission as supposed deserters to the Tippoo in his capital of Seringapatam. While there, they participate in the climactic battle for the city. The book is based on actual events and remains very close to the historical record.This is an action-packed book that, while keeping a very fast pace, imparts a wealth of fascinating detail about life in the British Army at that time, which is integral to the plot. Indian life is not quite so well portrayed but in the context of the book, that is not noticeable, nor is it a loss.The characters are well done, including the evil Sgt. Hikeswell. The Tippoo himself emerges as a sympathetic and enlightened ruler for those times. The Duke of Wellington is introduced as Col. Arthur Wellesley in his first real command, as subordinate to General Harris, the leader of the expedition against Mysore. while some characters are clearly one-timers, others obviously will repeat in further books, and I'm loooking forward to seeing them all again.Highly recommended.
BruderBane on LibraryThing 3 months ago
My first Sharpe book and it's about time. Excellent read from beginning to end and I can't wait to see what Cornwell has in store next for Richard Sharpe. Well written, thoroughly researched, full of action and suspense. My only somewhat harsh criticism would be some of the characters were tad stereotypical but our hero is not.
Anonymous 7 months ago
the best and most exciting historical fiction ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one story I keep coming back and reading again. Very well organized, well written and interesting characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book for the second time. Its edge of your seat exciting. This series is fantastic historical fiction. However there are so many typos and misspellings that whoever proofed this should be thrown to the tigers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the focus on battle military tactics and character development.
goodolebs More than 1 year ago
Read this and you're hooked. Well written and fast pasted. A little gory at times but historically accurate. As far as the general situation with his characters thrown into the action, its a nice fit. I'm reading them all again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stalks his prey watching as its ears twitch sensing danger. Suddenly he pounces taking is life with one stroke.-thats the seventh rabbit ive killed