Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe Series #2)

Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe Series #2)

by Bernard Cornwell

Paperback(First Perennial Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060951979
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/23/2012
Series: Sharpe Series , #2
Edition description: First Perennial Edition
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 179,794
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(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.

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Chapter One

It was not Sergeant Richard Sharpe's fault. He was not in charge. He was junior to at least a dozen men, including a major, a captain, a subadar and two jemadars, yet he still felt responsible. He felt responsible, angry, hot, bitter and scared. Blood crusted on his face where a thousand flies crawled. There were even flies in his open mouth.

But he dared not move.

The humid air stank of blood and of the rotted egg smell made by powder smoke. The very last thing he remembered doing was thrusting his pack, haversack and cartridge box into the glowing ashes of a fire, and now the ammunition from the cartridge box exploded. Each blast of powder fountained sparks and ashes into the hot air. A couple of men laughed at the sight. They stopped to watch it for a few seconds, poked at the nearby bodies with their muskets, then walked on.

Sharpe lay still. A fly crawled on his eyeball and he forced himself to stay absolutely motionless. There was blood on his face and more blood had puddled in his right ear, though it was drying now. He blinked, fearing that the small motion would attract one of the killers, but no one noticed.

Chasalgaon. That's where he was. Chasalgaon; a miserable, thorn-walled fort on the frontier of Hyderabad, and because the Rajah of Hyderabad was a British ally the fort had been garrisoned by a hundred sepoys of the East India Company and fifty mercenary horsemen from Mysore, only when Sharpe arrived half the sepoys and all of the horsemen had been out on patrol.

Sharpe had come from Seringapatam, leading a detail of six privates and carrying a leather bag stuffed with rupees, and he had been greeted byMajor Crosby who commanded at Chasalgaon. The Major proved to be a plump, red-faced, bilious man who disliked the heat and hated Chasalgaon, and he had slumped in his canvas chair as he unfolded Sharpe's orders. He read them, grunted, then read them again. "Why the hell did they send you?" he finally asked.

"No one else to send, sir."

Crosby frowned at the order. "Why not an officer?"

"No officers to spare, sir."

"Bloody responsible job for a sergeant, wouldn't you say?"

"Won't let you down, sir," Sharpe said woodenly, staring at the leprous yellow of the tent's canvas a few inches above the Major's head.

"You'd bloody well better not let me down," Crosby said, pushing the orders into a pile of damp papers on his camp table. "And you look bloody young to be a sergeant."

"I was born late, sir," Sharpe said. He was twenty-six, or thought he was, and most sergeants were much older.

Crosby, suspecting he was being mocked, stared up at Sharpe, but there was nothing insolent on the Sergeant's face. A good-looking man, Crosby thought sourly. Probably had the bibbis of Seringapatam falling out of their saris, and Crosby, whose wife had died of the fever ten years before and who consoled himself with a two-rupee village whore every Thursday night, felt a pang of jealousy. "And how the devil do you expect to get the ammunition back to Seringapatam?" he demanded.

"Hire ox carts, sir." Sharpe had long perfected the way to address unhelpful officers. He gave them precise answers, added nothing unnecessary and always sounded confident.

"With what? Promises?"

"Money, sir." Sharpe tapped his haversack where he had the bag of rupees.

"Christ, they trust you with money?"

Sharpe decided not to respond to that question, but just stared impassively at the canvas. Chasalgaon, he decided, was not a happy place. It was a small fort built on a bluff above a river that should have been overflowing its banks, but the monsoon had failed and the land was cruelly dry. The fort had no ditch, merely a wall made of cactus thorn with a dozen wooden fighting platforms spaced about its perimeter. Inside the wall was a beaten-earth parade ground where a stripped tree served as a flagpole, and the parade ground was surrounded by three mud-walled barracks thatched with palm, a cookhouse, tents for the officers and a stone-walled magazine to store the garrison's ammunition. The sepoys had their families with them, so the fort was overrun with women and children, but Sharpe had noted how sullen they were. Crosby, he thought, was one of those crabbed officers who were only happy when all about them were miserable.

"I suppose you expect me to arrange the ox carts?" Crosby said indignantly.

"I'll do it myself, sir."

"Speak the language, do you?" Crosby sneered. "A sergeant, banker and interpreter, are you?"

"Brought an interpreter with me, sir," Sharpe said. Which was overegging the pudding a bit, because Davi Lal was only thirteen, an urchin off the streets of Seringapatam. He was a smart, mischievous child whom Sharpe had found stealing from the armory cookhouse and, after giving the starving boy a clout around both ears to teach him respect for His Britannic Majesty's property, Sharpe had taken him to Lali's house and given him a proper meal, and Lali had talked to the boy and learned that his parents were dead, that he had no relatives he knew of, and that he lived by his wits. He was also covered in lice. "Get rid of him," she had advised Sharpe, but Sharpe had seen something of his own childhood in Davi Lal and so he had dragged him down to the River Cauvery and given him a decent scrubbing. After that Davi Lal had become Sharpe's errand boy. He learned to pipeclay belts, blackball boots and speak his own version of English which, because it came from the lower ranks, was liable to shock the gentler born.

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Stephen King

The Sharpe novels are wonderful….consistently exciting…brilliantly realized.

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Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a sublime piece of work. We are taken back to the earlier days of Sharpe's adventursom career, when he was a lowly sargeant in the 33rd Foot. Aspiring to higher spheres of endeavor, Sharpe as usual must confront the aristocratic and stilted system of promotion then existant in the British army. That system is personified in the character of Sir Arthur Welldsely. Cornwall's depiction of Sir Arthur, the future Duke of Wellington, is an astonishingly accurate one. Wellseley was cold, arrogant, and extremely competitent. The battle of Assaye (1803) which smashed the Mahratta confederation and paved the way for ultimate British conquest of India, was one of the Dukes most inspired and risky battles. He even rated it higher than Waterloo. As usual, Cornwall's depiction of battle scenes is flawless. His version of Assaye is unsurpassed. Sir Arthur confidantly lead his 5,000 man army of British and seapoy troops against the Mahratta mass of over 40,000 and 100 guns. The advance of the 78th Highlanders, and their endurement of the tremendous Mahratta bombardment must stand as one of the epic infantry assults of the period. The two Scottish regiments in Sir Arthur's command, the 74th and 78th Highlanders, won the campaign for him, and Cornwall does not fail to give them their due. Sir Arthur's victory at Assaye dispels the common notion that European armies defeated their colonial opponets by means of superior technology. Sheer determination, iron discipline, and tactical brilliance won the day for the British against an opponet who was as well armed as they and far more numerous. Cornwell brilliantly depicts all these elements while giving us a colorful collection of characters including a youthful Sharpe who has ahead of him all that he becomes in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is terrific. Excitement from beginning to end and very reader-friendly. Yet another example of Bernard Cornwell's magnificent writing capabilities. Highly suggest it to anyone interested in historical fiction, or to anyone in the mood for a great spellbinding book.
Warrant4 More than 1 year ago
I first was introduced to the Sharp's series through PBS. I've started reading the series... and up to #2 have found them to be as good or even better than the TV series. Action... awsome... (maybe a little too detailes at times). With the Nook... even better!
5hrdrive on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Fascinating account of colonial warfare, hard to believe such an outnumbered force could achieve victory. The details are breathtaking.The first half of the book only merits three stars, but the second half is worth five, so we'll call it four stars for the whole thing.
varielle on LibraryThing 3 days ago
It's tough for me to imagine Richard Sharpe with clubbed hair since I can only see him as Sean Bean in his heydey. This is the second in the series of Richard Sharpe's adventures in India. Between the fighting and womanizing Cornwell finds time to shed historical enlightenment about this critical stage in the development of the British Empire. This is pre-Raj when the British East India Company still holds sway and the British military is finding its way among the myriad kingdoms of India. Sharpe, as usual, lives to fight another day despite massive odds, while seducing the ladies, riding elephants and despatching the bad guys along the way.
hmskip on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Cornwell is a great descriptive writer. I have read three of the Sharpe series and all of them have been the kind of book that I can not put down. They capture the reader from the first page and each succeeding page delivers up more action and pulls me more into the story and the history.
ksmyth on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Sharpe's Triumph is the second, chronologically, of the Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. This is the second of the three books tracing Sharpe's experiences in India. Coming four years after Sharpe's promotion to sergeant following the successful siege of Seringapatam, we find Sharpe jerked away from his comfortable existence in that city, and accompanying Col. McCandless, an intelligence officer we met in the Tippoo Sultan's dungenons, to capture an East India Company turncoat serving with the Mahratta confederacy's army. The bloody story takes us through the Battle of Assaye, one of Arthur Wellesley's more sanguinary victories, fought with a lot of guts against a much larger foe. Two of the highlights of the book are our further encounters with that malevelant bottomfeeder, Obadiah Hakeswill. This time he's engineered a dishonest plot to arrest Sharpe on a trumped up charge so he can bump him off and take the jewels Sharpe looted from the Tippoo Sultan. This story also holds the incident in which Sharpe is promoted from the ranks for saving Wellesley's life. It is some intense, exciting action. Sharpe's Triumph is a good read, fun stuff, a great addition to your Sharpe library.
uvula_fr_b4 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Sharpe's Triumph, which is chronologically the second book in the Richard Sharpe series (though the 14th published), is a good, bare bones example of the virtues of Bernard Cornwell's writing in this series: while it doesn't contain as much information about the Indian states (or the literary crossover "in-joke") as its immediate predecessor, Sharpe's Tiger: Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799, it does deftly and compellingly sketch out military battles on a large, medium, and one-on-one scale. Cornwell's description of the tactics is strong enough to make the poorest strategic game-player feel like an armchair Napoleon (or, better, an armchair Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, the preeminent "real-world" figure featured here -- who, after all, did put paid to Boney's dreams of empire), while his action scenes are vivid enough to make even the clumsiest and weakest reader wistfully yearn for a chance to prove himself on "the field of honor," even with all of the gore and grue. Sharpe's quest -- to find a traitorous East Indian Company officer, in the company of a Scots colonel of "John Company's" army -- is paralleled by the quest of his nemesis, Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, to (officially...) clap him in the chokey. If one is left wanting a bit more of the Mahratta (the spelling used here; also known as "Maratha") point of view of the Second Anglo-Marathta War (1803-05), that's really not the purview of the Sharpe novels; a balanced treatment of the Indian POV would've resulted in a novel easily twice the length of the one at hand (291 pps., including a 3-paged historical afterword), while not necessarily increasing the enjoyment to be had. The fact that Cornwell does not elide over what happens to the human body, in or out of uniform, when men wage war should serve as all the counterweight that a thinking reader needs to balance the skirl of bagpipes and the tattoo of drums.
Joycepa on LibraryThing 3 months ago
In 1803, 4 years after his debut in Sharpe's Tiger, Sgt. Richard Sharpe has carved out a more or less comfortable life for himself in Wellesley's army. As the book opens, he has just returned from being the sole survivor of a massacre led by a renegade British officer, Lt. Dodd. Colonel McCandless, the intrepid head of Intelligence for the British East India Company's forces, who befriended Sharpe and who was rescued by Sharpe from the Tippoo Sultan's dungeons during the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799, commandeers Sharpe to assist him in tracking Dodd and bringing him to British justice. As a result, Sharpe finds himself at the Battle of Assaye, where he meets both Wellesley and his evil Nemesis, Sgt. Obadiah Hakeswill, again in an exciting climax.This is another fast-paced action-adventure story by Cornwell. The history is sound, the writing is excellent, and the characters engaging. Another, somewhat pallid, love interest, but then you can't have everything! The climax of the book, the Battle of Assaye, is a real page-turner; I couldn't put it down until I'd finished.An outstanding read, highly entertaining as well as informative. Highly recommended.
goldenboat on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Sharpe is a likeable character and Cornwell writes excellent battle scenes. Very entertaining.
Naugahyde on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Excellent read. It's a well written book. The reader did an great job - especially with the changing of the voices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm rereading the series for the third or fourth time. It gets better each time!
goodolebs More than 1 year ago
Good character development and story. Easy to read but I think its a guy book even though my wife recommended the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read terrific story line truely a great author excells historically ln all his novels
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