Posing as a deserter, Sharpe must penetrate into the Tippoo's city and make contact with a Scottish spy being held prisoner there. Success will mean winning his sergeant stripes; failure, being turned over to the Tippoo's brutal executioners or his man-eating tigers.
Picking his way through an exotic and alien world, one slip will mean disaster as Sharpe learns that he must fight his old comrades in order to save his own neck. Along the way, he keeps an eye out for Mysore's beautiful prostitutes, any stray loot he can get his hands on, and the chance to learn his ABCs. But when the furious British assault on the city begins, Sharpe must fight with the fierceness and agility of a tiger himself to foil the Tippoo's trap, and to keep from being killed by his own side.
Don't forget to check out the rest of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series.
Don't miss the rest of Bernard Cornwell's literary masterpieces.
©1997 Bernard Cornwell; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Cornwell writes more gripping battle scenes than any other contemporary author." (Kirkus Reviews)
Sharpe's Tiger is chronologically the first of about 20 Richard Sharpe books. About seven years ago, I read Sharpe’s Rifles and subsequently devoured each book in the series.
Fast forward to 2007: It is so hard to find a great listen and I was so desperate that I returned to a dependable, entertaining, consistently engrossing series – Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels but this time as audiobooks starting with the first in the series.
Since Sharpe’s Tiger is chronologically the first book (Cornwell started this series with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe with Sharpe’s Rifles) it remains true to the character and action as the other Sharpe books. Many series start off weak or uncertain before the author finds his pace and the character is developed.
I found that slight weakness to be true with the first two or three Sharpe books that Cornwell wrote. They were very good but I found that as Cornwell became more comfortable with the series and writing, the books got even better. Since Sharpe’s Tiger was written several years after Cornwell started the series, he and Sharpe are in their prime. This is a great book to start the series.
The more books that I download from Audible, the more I realize the importance of a good narrator. Frederick Davidson does an excellent job with different accents in the book including Scot, British (of course), Indian and French. He also differentiates the speech of different people so it is easy to know when the conversation has shifted. Most importantly, Davidson does an excellent job of telling this exciting tale without getting overly dramatic.
As awkward as it sounds, each Sharpe novel is like a gritty Cinderella story, except Sharpe rarely gets to keep the girl or the money.
This series (many read in print as not all were available unabridged on Audible when I read them a few years ago) made for a great summer of reading. There are over twenty books in the series. Somehow the books did not get too repetitive or formulaic. I remember that summer of reading fondly. These books kept me enthralled for months.
Sharpe's Tiger is an exciting beginning to the novels in the Sharpe series. Bernard Cornwell has done a great job blending a fictional hero, Richard Sharpe, with historically balanced accounts of Britain's wars in India and Europe from the 1790's through 1815. In each tale Cornwell paints a beautifully detailed picture of daily life in the British army, while placing Sharpe in countless dangerous and dramatic situations. Because it is the first Sharpe book and also because of the exotic 18th century Indian setting, Sharpe's Tiger remains my favorite of the series.
Frederick Davidson (a/k/a David Case) does his usual superb job narrating Cornwell's story. It is astounding that a single performer can create so many beautiful voices and thereby give life to so many distinct characters.
I have only three regrets about Audible's Sharpe stories. First, although Cornwell's series unfolds over multiple novels in sequential order, Audible's library does not include every book. The reader is left to seek out the missing volumes elsewhere. Second, among those Sharpe books that Audible does sell, several are provided in only abridged form, with entire scenes and characters left out. Third, although a large number of the Sharpe books are brilliantly read by Frederick Davidson, some of the books are read by other narrators whose performances are not nearly as polished, greatly lessening the reader's enjoyment of those episodes.
Overall, Sharpe's Tiger is highly recommended as first rate historical fiction, superbly performed. And, if you enjoy this tale there are 20 other Sharpe books to seek out!
This is a great series, which I read when i was younger, but the audio was even better due to the excellent read done by Frederick Davidson. He brings the characters alive. If you like adventure series with action you will not go wrong getting this.
Some fifteen years ago, I read Cornwell's origial Sharpe series in a mad, compulsive rush. Disappointment with a Sharpe "prequel" written to support the television series kept me from trying the India novels that Cornwell wrote during the late 1990s.
Now I'm glad that I waited for this fine audio version, instead. The narration is first-rate, one of the best I've heard, and a perfect complement to what turns out to be vintage Richard Sharpe. This is a story filled with rich characters, exotic locales, fast-moving action, and riveting historical detail.
My loss -- I didn't realize how much I missed marching with Sharpe. If you're a fan, treat yourself to this listen. And if you're not yet a fan, after hearing this you will be!
Frederick Davidson is the best reader I've yet listened to on Audible. His various "voices" made the story very personal. The torture and battle descriptions were a bit gruesome but likely in keeping with the times. Cornwell makes history intriging. Can't wait to listen to the next in the series.
The man, the myth, the legend
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.
Sharpe's Tiger creates a realistic picture of British Infantry at the apex of the British empire, equivalent in both scope and detail to the exploits of Horatio Hornblower in the British Navy. Although fiction, the characters, the dialects, and the details of infantry rigors and battle horrors bring this history to life.
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