First edition cover
|Series||Richard Sharpe stories|
|Publication date||2 June 1997|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback) and audio-CD|
|Pages||400 pp (hardcover edition))
352 pp (paperback edition)
|ISBN||ISBN 0-00-225010-1 (hardcover edition)
ISBN 0-00-649035-2 (paperback edition)
|Dewey Decimal||823/.914 21|
|LC Classification||PR6053.O75 S56 1997|
|Followed by||Sharpe's Triumph|
Sharpe's Tiger is Bernard Cornwell's return to the Richard Sharpe series of novels, set during his early years in India. This is Cornwell's device to find prequel material for his hero. First published in 1997, more novels were to follow, both in India and the Western theatre of the Napoleonic Wars.
Plot introduction 
The first (chronologically) of the Richard Sharpe series, and of the Sharpe India trilogy, by the English author Bernard Cornwell. It takes place in Mysore, India and tells of Sharpe's adventures and triumphs against the Tipu Sultan during the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.
Plot summary 
Up to this time Cornwell had been going back through the period of the Napoleonic Wars to find new incidents into which to place his hero. Rather than do this, he adopts a "prequel" approach and uses an earlier campaign period in the history of the British Army, that of colonial India.
The novel opens with Richard Sharpe serving as a private with the British army, then invading Mysore and advancing on the Tippoo Sultan's capital city of Seringapatam. Sharpe is contemplating desertion with his paramour, widow Mary Bickerstaff. His sadistic company sergeant, Obadiah Hakeswill, deliberately provokes Sharpe into attacking him, and engineers the virtual death sentence of 2,000 lashes for the private. But Sharpe is rescued by Lieutenant William Lawford after 200 lashes are inflicted, in order to effect a rescue mission behind the Tippoo's lines.
Lawford and Sharpe are ordered to pose as deserters to rescue Colonel Hector McCandless, chief of the British East India Company's intelligence service. Although Lawford is nominally in command, Sharpe quickly dominates the lieutenant by force of personality and, without authorization, brings Mary on the mission. Joining the Tippoo's army, they discover that the Tippoo has set a trap for the invading British by mining the weakest (and thus most inviting) portion of Seringapatam's walls.
Before Sharpe and Lawford can discover a way to transmit a warning to the British, they are betrayed by Sergeant Hakeswill. Hakeswill has been captured in battle and the Tippoo orders him made a human sacrifice for victory, but Hakeswill secures the Sultan's mercy in exchange for revealing Sharpe's and Lawford's identity as spies.
Sharpe and Lawford are imprisoned as the British army prepares to assault the booby-trapped wall of the city. Mary helps Sharpe to escape, and Sharpe blows up the mine before the main British army can enter the trap. As the Tippoo tries to flee the city, Sharpe finds him in a dark tunnel, kills him, and steals his rich jewels. Sharpe throws Hakeswill to the Tippoo's tigers, but the recently fed animals ignore Hakeswill, and Sharpe's enemy survives to plague him in later adventures.
Characters in "Sharpe's Tiger" 
- Richard Sharpe – the protagonist.
- William Lawford – Sharpe's lieutenant who aids him in freeing Colonel McCandless.
- Mary Bickerstaff – a widowed half-Indian army wife, now attached to Sharpe.
- General George Harris
- Major-General David Baird – a former prisoner within Seringapatam now itching for revenge
- Colonel Arthur Wellesley – later 1st Duke of Wellington.
- Colonel Hector McCandless – Scottish intelligence officer for the British East India Company, held captive by the Tippoo Sultan in the dungeons of Seringapatam.
- Tipu Sultan – the Indian King who is killed by Sharpe. His red ruby and some of his other jewels are stolen by Sharpe.
- Colonel Jean Gudin – a French adviser to the Tippoo Sultan.
- Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill – becomes Sharpe's enemy, engineering his sentence to 2000 lashes.
- brevet Lieutenant Fitzgerald – murdered by Hakeswill during a battle outside Seringapatam.
- Ensign Hicks – the junior officer serving with the Light Company
- Captain Morris – the commanding officer of 33rd Light Company
- Major Shee – the commanding officer of the 33rd Regiment
- Colonel Gent – the officer in charge of engineering the breach.
- General Appah Rao – the Hindu officer and friend of Colonel McCandless serving in the Sultan's army.
Books in the series (in chronological order) 
|01||Sharpe's Tiger||Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799||(1997)|
|02||Sharpe's Triumph||Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803||(1998)|
|03||Sharpe's Fortress||Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803||(1999)|
|04||Sharpe's Trafalgar||Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Trafalgar, October 1805||(2000)|
|05||Sharpe's Prey||Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Copenhagen, 1807||(2001)|
|06||Sharpe's Rifles||Richard Sharpe and the French Invasion of Galicia, January 1809||(1988)|
|07||Sharpe's Havoc||Richard Sharpe and the Campaign in Northern Portugal, Spring 1809||(2003)|
|08||Sharpe's Eagle||Richard Sharpe and the Talavera Campaign, July 1809||(1981)|
|09||Sharpe's Gold||Richard Sharpe and the Destruction of Almeida, August 1810||(1981)|
|10||Sharpe's Escape||Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Bussaco, September 1810||(2004)|
|11||Sharpe's Fury||Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Barrosa (March 1811), Winter 1811||(2007)|
|12||Sharpe's Battle||Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, May 1811||(1995)|
|13||Sharpe's Company||Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Badajoz, January to April 1812||(1982)|
|14||Sharpe's Sword||Richard Sharpe and the Salamanca Campaign, June and July 1812||(1983)|
|15||Sharpe's Skirmish||Richard Sharpe and the Defence of the Tormes, August 1812 (short story)||(1999)||(revised extended edition published 2002)|
|16||Sharpe's Enemy||Richard Sharpe and the Defence of Portugal, Christmas 1812||(1984)|
|17||Sharpe's Honour||Richard Sharpe and the Vitoria Campaign, February to June 1813||(1985)|
|18||Sharpe's Regiment||Richard Sharpe and the Invasion of France, June to November, 1813||(1986)|
|19||Sharpe's Christmas||December 1813, Franco-Spanish border (short story)||(1994)||(revised edition published 2003)|
|20||Sharpe's Siege||Richard Sharpe and the Winter Campaign, 1814||(1987)|
|21||Sharpe's Revenge||Richard Sharpe and the Peace of 1814||(1989)|
|22||Sharpe's Waterloo||Richard Sharpe and the Waterloo Campaign, 15 June to 18 June 1815||(1990)|
|23||Sharpe's Ransom||December 1815, Normandy (short story)||(1994)||(revised edition published 2003)|
|24||Sharpe's Devil||Richard Sharpe and the Emperor, 1820–21||(1992)|
Release details 
- 1997, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-225010-1, Pub date 2 June 1997, hardback
- 1997, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-105335-3, Pub date 16 June 1997, audio cassette
- 1997, USA, HarperCollins Publishers ISBN 0-06-101269-6, Pub date ? October 1997, hardback
- 1997, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-225011-X, Pub date 3 November 1997, paperback
- 1998, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-649035-2, Pub date 1 June 1998, paperback
- 1999, USA, Chivers Press ISBN 0-7540-1242-5, Pub date 1 March 1999, hardback
- 2001, USA, Rebound by Sagebrush ISBN 0-613-37043-0, Pub date ? October 2001, hardback (library)
- 2002, USA, Chivers Audio Books ISBN 0-7540-5481-0, Pub date 16 June 1997, audio CD (unabridged William Gaminara narrator)
- 2005, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-721814-1, Pub date 15 June 2005, audio cassette (Sean Bean narrator)
- 2006, UK, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-723504-6, Pub date 18 April 2006, paperback