Sharpe's Adventure

Sharpe is a series of historical fiction stories by Bernard Cornwell centred on the character of Richard Sharpe. The stories formed the basis for an ITV television series featuring Sean Bean in the title role.

Cornwell's series is composed of several novels and short stories, and charts Sharpe's progress in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He begins in Sharpe's Tiger as a private in the 33rd Regiment of Foot who becomes a sergeant by the end of the book; he is an ensign in the 74th Regiment during Sharpe's Trafalgar who is transferred to the newly formed 95th Rifles as a second lieutenant. He is gradually promoted through the ranks, finally becoming a lieutenant colonel in Sharpe's Waterloo.

The character of Sharpe is born a guttersnipe in the rookeries of London, and the stories dramatize his struggle for acceptance and respect from his fellow officers and from the men whom he commands. He becomes a commissioned officer on the battlefield and overcomes class in an army where an officer's rank is often bought. He is an experienced soldier, unlike many of the officers with whom he serves. His adventures result in his improbable presence at nearly every important event in the British Empire at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th Centuries.

Sharpe is described as "brilliant but wayward" in Sharpe's Sword, and he is portrayed by the author as a "loose cannon". He is a highly skilled leader of light troops who takes part in a range of historical events during the Napoleonic Wars and other conflicts, including the Battle of Waterloo. He is considered dangerous to have as an enemy; he is a skilled marksman and grows to be a good swordsman. The books were published in non-chronological order, but in most of them, he is a rifle officer armed with a 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword and a Baker rifle, although he has also acquired a pistol by Sharpe's Waterloo. He is described as being six feet tall with an angular, tanned face, long black hair, and blue eyes. His most obvious physical characteristic is a deep scar on his right cheek which pulls at his right eye, giving his face a mocking expression when relaxed; this disappears when he smiles, which is not too frequent. By the end of the series, he has had three children and two wives.


Sharpe's Tiger - 1799

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