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Sharpe's Tiger

(Sharpe #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  18,632 ratings  ·  880 reviews
The prequel to the series, describing Sharpe's experiences in India. Sharpe’s Tiger describes the adventures of the raw young private soldier Richard Sharpe in India, before the Peninsular War.

Sharpe and the rest of his battalion, along with the rising star of the general staff Arthur Wellesley, are about to embark upon the siege of Seringapatam, island citadel of the Tipp
Paperback, 385 pages
Published 2003 by HarperPerennial (first published 1997)
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John I originally read them as a teenager, as they came out, so in publication order, which was broadly chronological from 'Rifles' - but with a few jumpin…moreI originally read them as a teenager, as they came out, so in publication order, which was broadly chronological from 'Rifles' - but with a few jumping back earlier in the Napoleonic campaigns (from memory), then - much later - then pre-Rifles. I'm about to re-read (well listen to) them in chronological order though - and I feel this may be best - but we'll see. Don't forget the TV Series with Sean Bean!!! (less)

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Ah, the delicious historical crack that is the Sharpe series. If ever there were a series of books that needed a drinking game, this is it, and I mean that in the best, most entertaining way possible. Sharpe hits something: drink! Sharpe is unjustly punished: drink! Sharpe saves the life of a superior officer: drink! Sharpe drinks: drink! Sharpe does something noble even though he hates doing it: drink! Sharpe pretends to be dumber than he is as a plot point: drink!

And that's just in the first t
Jason Koivu
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
India, tigers and Richard Sharpe? Where are we? What happened to my Napoleonic War historical fiction series?


Once upon a time Bernard Cornwell's series following Rifleman Richard Sharpe's career in Wellington's army during the Napoleonic Wars began in media res. The embattled rifleman was stuck in with his brothers on the European continent fighting a losing war.

After the originals were finished, Cornwell restarted the series and although this prequel is decent, showcasing his improved writing,
This is the first in the James Bond style Sharpe series, focusing on Sharpe's earlier times in the British regiment as a private.

It's close to the turn of the century . .. late 18th century . .. and focuses on Sharpe's time in India as different groups struggle for power of the realm. Through luck and desperation, Sharpe goes undercover with a lieutenant to rescue a colonel from a fortified enemy city. This colonel is vital because he has crucial information for the British to take the town succ
Christopher Bunn
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read and re-read the Sharpe series countless times. For me, they're arguably one of the finest collections of historical fiction written. Cornwell knows what he's doing and does it well. There are some easy potshots to take at the books. The biggest one is that each book is essentially the same plot: Sharpe is thrown into an underdog fight, he saves the girl, and emerges victorious against all odds. However, that's fairly irrelevant due to everything else the books have to offer. Cornwell p ...more
An excellent beginning to a great series, if you like historical fiction. Cornwell does an excellent job depicting the people & the times. He captures the essence of the battle & the issues surrounding it, but through the eyes of a common infantry man, Richard Sharpe.

Sharpe is not a nice guy, but he's not a bad man, either. He is the product of his times & that often leads him to actions most would be hesitant to take. As he says in one place - he's not a rapist, but he's lied, murdered & stolen
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: napoleonic-wars
I had a ton of fun with this book. This was my first Sharpe novel but not my first Cornwell (I started with The Last Kingdom.) I have to insist (I'm pretty sure I brought this up in another Cornwell review but whatever) that this might be a better way to get into history than being forced to look at dusty textbooks when you're six, if someone had handed me a copy of this book when I was like 10 it would have sparked my interest in history way earlier, and I think it would do the same for most pe ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is fast paced and full of adventure. The author does a really good job at describing the characters and the backdrop of the story. I know almost nothing about this part of history and the author does a really good job at explaining everything so one understands how everything of that era works. This book is what I love about reading, finding out new things and Sharpe is a great protagonist. Will definitely read more of the Sharpe series in the future.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This excellent historical novel is the first in a series about Richard Sharpe, a soldier in the British army in 1799. The army is setting out to attack a city in southern India. Unfortunately, the leader of the city, the Tippoo, has set up a brilliant trap to surprise the attackers.

Although Sharpe was a thief before joining the army, he is a very clever, intelligent, likable rogue. Nevertheless, Sharpe is bedeviled by a hateful, cowardly British sergeant. In the middle of a brutal flogging, Shar
"My story is better, it has tigers" :D
Stinky Girl
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. I can't wait to read the rest of the ceries. Their are twentyone books in the ceries. I highly recommend it.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no getting away from it, Bernard Cornwell knows how to mix fact and fiction together and successfully turn it into a highly entertaining adventure.
Richard Sharpe is to 1800's what Jack Reacher is the 2000's. A man not to be messed with, under any circumstances. The main difference between the two is, with Sharpe you also get a history lesson to help broaden your horizons.

Richard Sharpe is at heart a good guy but he is not above doing some skulduggery to improve his circumstances. For ev
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and loved his Saxon Swords series. I'd heard of Sharpe, but this was my first time reading it. Luckily I started with the first book in the series.

Private Richard Sharpe of the 33rd Regiment of Foot (The Havercakes) is in India. His Regiment is going to fight Tippoo Sultan of Mysore. This fascinating journey takes you into a British Army regiment of the late 1700's (1799). Cornwell's descriptions are spot on and a pleasure to read. Complex concepts (like the ope
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
My brother introduced me to the Sharpe series such a long time ago and I read about half of the books in this series (sadly not in chronological order) with such enthusiasm and a burning desire to see what happens next that I even surprised myself. Richard Sharpe's adventures in the British army from 1799 onwards, the struggles, discrimination and the disappointments he faces as well as the enemies and friends he makes in his long career in the army was a compelling read. I even became a fan of ...more
Tim The Enchanter
A rousing 4 Stars

Sharpe's Tiger , my first foray into the world of Bernard Cornwell, was a success! The story is filled with interesting characters, an exotic locale and exciting action and espionage all set against the background of a British Army Battalion in 1799.


In reading other reviews, some readers complained that the characters were flat and one-dimensional. I have to respectfully disagree. While the characters may not be developed to point you may find in a Tana French nov
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing

A friend of mine has been trying to get me into the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell for about a year now. A few months back I went ahead and purchased the first 3 books in the long running series and finally got around to reading book one, Sharpe's Tiger. My friend described it as a great series for when you need something light or a break from your traditional genre. I'd say he summed it up perfectly. It's my first book by BC and only my second foray into Historical Fiction. I'm excited to c
Jason , etc.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bloody hell.

In order to confuse all future readers of these books, Bernard Cornwell wrote them out of order. This is actually the first of the Sharpe's series, but was actually written years after the first Sharpe's book was published. Whatever, dude. This was abso-goddamn-lutely amazing. I listened to this during a long drive (as I do) and at first, the reader's British accent was so incredibly Eton-esque, dripping with the posh sensibilities of the dandiest of British dandies, that I was worri
This superbly exciting novel is set during the British siege and capture of the South Indian city of Seringapatam (Srirangapatnam) near Mysore. Based on sound historical research, the author adapted what actually happened to improve the thrilling nature of his narrative. A short section at the end of the book gives the reader an idea of what actually happened in Seringapatam, and indicates how the author deviated from history in his novel.

The story centres around the antics and bold adventures o
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
Picture Jason Statham. As an illiterate private in the British Army. 1799. Napoleonic Wars. India. Kicking ass and taking names. Do you have a picture in your mind? That picture probably bears a resemblance to Bernard Cornwell's swashbuckling protagonist Private Richard Sharpe in this series of novels.

I found quite a few of these novels a few years back at a used book sale and as I share a last name with the protagonist, I thought, what the hey? I'll read these. And finally I did. And I am glad
rating: 4.5/5

Another home run for Cornwell.

Even though it started off slow, it just kept getting better and better and better...

Yes, his characters a formulaic (do I even need to say this in every single review?). They are charming, brave, smart(ass) with a hilariously sharp (no pun intended) tongue and yet are flawed (love of bloodshed, idiotically running into danger, and greed but not too much). In many aspects Sharpe is similar to Uhtred, but different at the same time (like not killing of
Chad Sayban
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to start at the beginning of this lengthy historical fiction series and I'm glad I did. I expected I would probably like Sharpe's Tiger, but I ended up liking it even more than I had hoped I would. Enough that I have already picked up the first four books in the series in hardcover. That should say something right there. The main character of Richard Sharpe hit all the important points for a series protagonist - smart, resourceful, good looking. He is protective when he can be and ruth ...more
Arun Divakar
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Srirangapatna is a very small town in the city of Mysore which currently has a lot of religious significance. For such a small town, this place has a lot of historical significance as well starting from the time of the Vijayanagara empire. Vijayanagara fell and there was the rise of the Islamic Sultans in the south and the father-son duo of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan made this their capital. At the closure of the 17th century there was a pitched battle fought for the control of this town between ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first encountered Richard Sharpe in the shape of Sean Bean, in the TV adaptation of the 90s. I was too young at the time when I was first watching the series of TV films to realise that it was a book adaptation, despite being an avid reader at the time, but I was quite taken by them, and that catchy tune keeps on following me around.

This book, I’d heard of it years ago, more than fifteen years, but I wasn’t so much interested in reading about military historical fiction at the time. Move on a
Review of the audiobook narrated by Frederick Davidson.

This book was a load of fun for me. It has a great pace, a likable hero up against an array of nuanced bad guys and some authentic history thrown in to boot. I had listened to The Last Kingdom as my first book from Bernard Cornwell and while I liked it, I was somewhat underwhelmed. As a big fan of historical fiction I wanted to try another series from Cornwell because, being one of the greats of the genre, it didn't make sense that I wouldn'
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been anxious to read the Sharpe series for a while now. My first exposure to Bernard Cornwell was through his take on the King Arthur myth with his "Warlord Chronicles" series which I devoured with a fervor I hadn't had for a series in quite some time. Loving his take on the medieval time period I jumped into the "Saxon Tales" next and having finished the books in that series I was ready to tackle Sharpe.

I had heard many good things about certain books in the series and I went in with hig
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
My rating here is really more for the entire series than just this book alone. There are something like 20 books in the series, so you need to go to to read the books in order, even though they weren't written in order. This series is one of my favorites and falls in that magical category of truly educational fiction. The series follows the journeys of the fictional Richard Sharpe through the British army around the world in the early 1800's. It is amazingly well research ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Now that was a fun ride. In truth, for the first third or so I thought I was going to get rather bored, and I wasn't sure this book would be more than a 2-star, 3 at most. Matter of fact, right up until the end I thought I was looking at a 3-star, even when it did get interesting.

But Richard Sharpe is a brilliantly drawn character. He's a regular guy in the British army in 1799. He's crude and a bit wild and bored with the service. But when you get right down to it, the man is a good guy, mostly
Carol Storm
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm just amazed by how great this book was. The Sharpe series has been around for decades, but somehow author Bernard Cornwell is always able to find new adventures and settings for Sharpe.

This story is about Richard Sharpe as a very young man, a private in India. I really liked how the new setting allowed Cornwell to explore new characters, new villains, new strategies. I loved reading Kipling's stories of India as a child, and this story is like that, but so much better! Cornwell really takes
Benjamin Thomas
This is just what I was afraid of...a very good historical novel, introducing me to yet another series that I must now follow. And this series has over 20 books in it.

But that's just what I expected from a Bernard Cornwell novel: great characters surrounded by a great plot and depicting a cool historical situation. Throw in a well-drawn bad guy and a very good cast of supporting characters and you've got yourself a fine time of reading. I chose to read these books in chronological order, as the
Sean Barrs
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
In this prequel of the Sharp series, we see Richard Sharp as a private and exactly how he made the rank of Sargent.

Corruption in the form of a crooked superior: Sargent Hakeswell, forces Sharp to “desert” over to the enemy forces. Over on the other side of the fence Sharp is respected as the fine solider he is and is even honoured by the Tippoo himself. But, it is a lie, in fact Sharp is actually a spy sent to uncover the enemies’ plans.

In this tale of war and treachery we see Sharp’s origins.
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this far more riveting than I expected. I'll be back for more. We each have written books titled THE HERETIC.
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What order should the Sharpe books be read in? 28 1950 May 05, 2019 09:26AM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden n ...more

Other books in the series

Sharpe (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe, #2)
  • Sharpe's Fortress (Sharpe, #3)
  • Sharpe's Trafalgar (Sharpe, #4)
  • Sharpe's Prey (Sharpe, #5)
  • Sharpe's Rifles (Sharpe, #6)
  • Sharpe's Havoc (Sharpe, #7)
  • Sharpe's Eagle (Sharpe, #8)
  • Sharpe's Gold (Sharpe, #9)
  • Sharpe's Escape (Sharpe, #10)
  • Sharpe's Fury (Sharpe, #11)

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