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Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1)

Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1)

4.2 122
by Bernard Cornwell

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From New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, now available in paperback—the world-renowned Sharpe’s Rifles series comes to a new generation of readers, beginning with this first exciting adventure. Bestselling historical novelist Bernard Cornwell chronicles the rise of Richard Sharpe, a Private in His Majesty’s Army at


From New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, now available in paperback—the world-renowned Sharpe’s Rifles series comes to a new generation of readers, beginning with this first exciting adventure. Bestselling historical novelist Bernard Cornwell chronicles the rise of Richard Sharpe, a Private in His Majesty’s Army at the siege of Seringapatam.

“The greatest writer of historical adventures today.”
Washington Post

Critically acclaimed, perennial New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell (Agincourt, The Fort, the Saxon Tales) makes real history come alive in his breathtaking historical fiction. Praised as “the direct heir to Patrick O’Brian” (The Economist), Cornwell has brilliantly captured the fury, chaos, and excitement of battle as few writers have ever done—perhaps most vividly in his phenomenally popular novels following the illustrious military career of British Army officer Richard Sharpe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Sharpe’s Tiger introduces readers to Sharpe, a private in His Majesty’s Army at the siege of Seringapatam in India in September 1803, as the fearless but inexperienced young soldier undertakes an essential undercover mission that places him on the wrong side of the conflict when the British assault on the city begins. Perhaps the San Francisco Chronicle said it best: “If only all history lessons could be as vibrant.”

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
“Page-turners [that] fan clubs all over the world are devoted to.”
The Economist
“The direct heir to Patrick O’Brian.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“The world may have a new literary hero. His name is Richard Sharpe.”
Library Journal
Cornwell's popular Richard Sharpe novels have marched his army hero through India campaigns and Europe's Napoleonic Wars, while raising him from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. Sharpe's Tiger goes back to when Sharpe was an illiterate private in southern India in 1799. Despite Sharpe's humble station, Cornwell gives him one of his greatest adventures, making him appear to be a deserter who joins the enemy army of the Tippoo of Mysore. In this precarious position, Sharpe faces not only the danger of being exposed--and possibly fed to tigers--but of being killed by his own countrymen. Throw into this mix his feud with the psychotic Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, and we have one of the most gripping and satisfying stories in the entire saga. Frederick Davidson's strong reading makes this a nearly perfect audiobook; another can't-miss acquisition for most libraries.--Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Internet Bookwatch
In Sharpe's Tiger, Richard Sharpe must fight behind enemy lines as the British army seeks to overthrow the tyrant Tippoo of Mysore and drive his French allies out of India in 1799. Bernard Cornwell is a master storyteller with the ability to rivet his readers attention to his vivid plots, exotic yesteryear scenarios, and memorable characters. This superbly produced, unabridged audiobook edition featured the magnificent narrative skills of Frederick Davidson who truly brings alive the thrills, dangers and plot twists that are the hall mark of Bernard Cornwell's historical adventures.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sharpe Series , #1
Edition description:
1 ED
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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.

Meet 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 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.

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Sharpe's Tiger (Sharpe Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 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.
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The same cloaked cat as earlier watches the two, before silently approaching them. The cat instantly slashes at Gorsefur's flank.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Padded in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical read very informative did not want to put book down other than a few typos this read was top notch
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot of typos but a very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy the Richard Sharpe series, and decided to re-read some of my favorites, but this time on my Nook. It was just as fun the second time, but the editing seemed to be non-existent. The name of Appah Rao would appear on the same page as Appah Rao and Appall Rao. The word "rubble" appeared as "nibble". It was interesting that the British forces were climbing the "great mound of nibble". It would be nice if these books could be edited a little more carefully.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Doug_Kuhn More than 1 year ago
I love the fun of the Sharp series! They are written with just enough detail to make you feel like you are part of the adventure, but not so much that you get bored from too many details from the author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction and was as such a little hesitant to read this, but I needn't have worried. It's very readable and walks the line of facts vs story very well. My only complaint is that there are many typos throughout; not enough to make the book unreadable but annoying all the same. Though it was amusing to read about soldiers praying to "Cod", I expect better for my money.
MaxVonKleist More than 1 year ago
Not quite up to snuff, compared to earlier entries into the series, but still well worth the read, and quite enjoyable.