Cornwell, Bernard 01 Sharpe’s Tiger-Serigapatam-Apr-May 1799
By Bernard Cornwell
The Sharpe novels
(in chronological order)
Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam (1799)
Richard Sharpe and the Batde of Assaye, (1803)
Richard Sharpe and the French Invasion of Galicia (1809)
Richard Sharpe and the Talavera Campaign (1809)
Richard Sharpe and the Destruction of Almeida (1810)
Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Fuentes de Ofioro (1811)
Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Badajoz (1812)
Richard Sharpe and the Salamanca Campaign (1812)
Richard Sharpe and the Defence of Portugal (1812)
Richard Sharpe and the Vitoria Campaign (1813)
Richard Sharpe and the Invasion of France (1813)
Richard Sharpe and the Winter Campaign (1814)
Richard Sharpe and the Peace of 1814
Richard Sharpe and the Waterloo Campaign (1815)
Richard Sharpe and the Emperor (1820-21)
The Starbuck Chronicles
THE BLOODY GROUND
Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799
The Author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work
ISBN 649035 2
Map by Ken Lewis
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Sharpe’s Tiger is for
Muir Sutherland and Malcolm Craddock, with many thanks
It was funny, Richard Sharpe thought, that there were no vultures in England. None that he had seen, anyway. Ugly things they were. Rats with wings.
He thought about vultures a lot, and he had a lot of time to think because he was a soldier, a private, and so the army insisted on doing a lot of his thinking for him. The army decided when he woke up, when he slept, when he ate, when he marched, and when he was to sit about doing nothing and that was what he did most of the time – nothing. Hurry up and do nothing, that was the army’s way of doing things, and he was fed up with it. He was bored and thinking of running.
Him and Mary. Run away. Desert. He was thinking about it now, and it was an odd thing to worry about right now because the army was about to give Richard Sharpe his first proper battle. He had been in one fight, but that was five years ago and it had been a messy, confused business in fog, and no one had known why the 33rd Regiment was in Flanders or what they were supposed to be doing there, and in the end they had done nothing except fire some shots at the mist-shrouded French and the whole thing had been over almost before young Richard Sharpe had known it had begun. He had seen a couple of men killed. He remembered Sergeant Hawthorne’s death best because the Sergeant had been hit by a musket ball that drove a rib clean out of his red coat. There was hardly a drop of blood to be seen, just
the white rib sticking out of the faded red cloth. ‘You could hang your hat on that,’ Hawthorne had said in a tone of wonder, then he had sobbed, and after that he had choked up blood and collapsed. Sharpe had gone on loading and firing, and then, just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, the battalion had marched away and sailed back to England. Some batde.
Now he was in India. He did not know why he was invading Mysore and hor did he particularly care. King George III wanted Richard Sharpe to be in India, so in India Richard Sharpe was, but Richard Sharpe had now become bored with the King’s service. He was young and he reckoned life had more to offer than hurrying up and doing nothing. There was money to be made. He was not sure how to make money, except by thieving, but he did know that he was bored and that he could do better than stay on the bottom of the dungheap. That was where he was, he kept telling himself, the bottom of a dungheap and everyone knew what was piled on top of a dungheap. Better to run, he told himself. All that was needed to get ahead in the world was a bit of sense and the ability to kick a bastard faster than the bastard could kick you, and Richard Sharpe reckoned he had those talents right enough.