We picked this book since it was the first in the Sharpe series and for the most part we really enjoyed it. The biggest drawback is that with this being a series, Sharpe is always going to come out on top. With battles this removes much of the suspense, however there is still plenty of moments that are unpredictable (particularly the flogging scene). My biggest complaint with this book was that the sections that didn't feature Sharpe were much less interesting than the ones that did. The McCandless parts early on, and later the General Baird sections didn't keep my attention as much as others.
The book is still a lot of fun overall and Sharpe is a great lead character. Towards the end he floats between Indiana Jones and Superman in his abilities, and his personality is for the most part light-hearted and enjoyable. The main villains, Hakeswill and the Tippoo are both somewhat caricatures, however they are also memorable in some of their exploits. I also enjoyed how even though the book is about the British, the French actually are much better in the eyes of the reader, particularly the honorable Colonel Gudin.
The narrator does a very good job with the voice acting, with each character recognizable. It is probably a blessing that there is only one female character in the book however, as she does sound quite pathetic at times. The narrator is certainly strongest in the dialogue sections, as his straight forward narration can get a bit long at times. Towards the end though, his enthusiasm for the material is wonderful, and the scene with the Tiger and then the strong men will have you on the edge of your seat.
We both enjoyed this title, with a 3.5/5 being our most accurate rating. Needless to say, we are open to trying other books in this series, so this book certainly did its job.
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