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Book Review - Sharpe's Tiger
By James Clay

The novel that Sharpe fans have been waiting for, 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 with the rising star of the general staff Arthur Wellesley, are about to embark upon the siege of Seringapatam, island citadel of the Tippoo of Mysore. The British must remove this potentate from his tiger throne, but he has gone to extraordinary lengths to defend his city from attack. And always he is surrounded by tigers, both living and ornamental... any prisoner of the Tippoo can expect a savage end.

When a senior British officer is captured by the Tippoo's forces Sharpe is offered a chance to attempt a rescue from the tyrannical Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. But in fleeing Hakeswill he enters a confusing, exotic and dangerous world of the Tippoo and Sharpe will need all his wits just to stay alive, let alone save the British army from catastrophe.

Sharpe's Tiger is the latest Sharpe book by Bernard Cornwell, but is set well before and far from the Peninsular War of Spain. It's 1799 and the British are in India fighting the Tippoo, a wonderful character with an obsession about Tigers. If I didn't know any better I would have said that Bernard Cornwell had written this book for Flintloque gamers: tigers, elephants, rockets, cannon, striped uniforms, jettis (huge strong men - read ogres), however Cornwell's work is based on historical fact. I remember (and the older readers may as well) seeing Tippoo's infamous ornamental Tiger Organ which has a tiger slaying a British soldier, on Blue Peter.

The book is a very enjoyable read, and it was nice to meet certain characters again (or should that be for the "first time"), such as Lawford (still a young lieutenant) who went on to command the South Essex and Sergeant Garrard who also became an officer, of a Portuguese Unit.

As I said above there is plenty in this book for Flintloque gamers, there are some epic battles, but there are also plenty of skirmish actions, including a murderous night attack. However it is the inspiration of a Flintloque Tippoo Unit which has really inspired me and should really form the basis of a separate article.

A wonderful read, which will really please the Sharpe fans out there who, like me, have read all the books. The question is, can Cornwell produce another cracker, or have we seen the last of Richard Sharpe? Only time can tell.

Sharpe's Tiger is now available in paperback.

Sharpe Novels

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