Customer Reviews: Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803 (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #2)
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on April 27, 2012
Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Sharpe novel series. These novels follow the career of Sergeant Richard Sharpe in the British army. Sharpe's Triumph is the second novel of the series.

In this novel Sharpe is the only survivor of a massacre. The attack is lead by the ruthless Major Dodd. Dodd is a traitorous British officer who has sold his services to a local Indian prince.

Sharpe teams with Colonel McCandless to pursue Dodd. In the pursuit of Dodd, Sharpe and McCandless join the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. (Wellington will be the victorious general at the Battle of Waterloo.)

Sharpe himself is pursued by the evil Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. Hakeswill hates Sharpe because of the events in the first novel. Hakeswill has falsely obtained a warrant for the arrest of Sharpe. His plan is to arrest Sharpe and then kill him.

Sharpe is not a perfect hero. He can be gallant and heroic. But he can also be ruthless and cruel. Although he is only a sergeant, Sharpe dreams of returning to England as an officer - an impossible dream in British army of the early 1800s.

The British army in the early nineteenth century was a hard, cruel, deadly experience. Cornwell's novel gives us a glimpse into the gritty reality of that era.
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on January 8, 2015
A more raw telling of times in the military during the Napoleonic era than others like Forrester or O'Brian. Yet, leaves the reader with a more detailed sense of what may have been all the while commanding a steady foray into a plot that promises to thicken over the hall of the series. Glad I read it and look forward to the rest.
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on March 1, 2014
A more detailed map of the participants positions at the beginning, mid-phase and immediate assault on the city would have helped this reader keep a better grasp of fight's evolution. The small split page map at the beginning was only marginally helpful. I particularly enjoy the character's dialogues.
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on January 23, 2005
Now a Sergeant, Richard Sharpe finds himself feeling something like ambition to rise in the British Army. Despite his excellent fighting abilities, Sharpe is destined to languish in the British ranks. Despite this, he is happy, his job is easy and his hidden fortune makes him able to live better than some officers. However, it is almost impossible for a British soldier to become an officer unless he performes an act of suicidal bravery in front of an influential officer. As an aide to a member of the East India Company military, Sharpe seems unlikely to ever have his chance. But fate intervenes and just as the battle of Assaye begins Sergeant Sharpe finds himself as an aide to Arthur Wellesley, commander of the British forces at Assaye. When Wellesley is unhorsed and surrounded it is up to Sharpe to save him and claim his destiny. Cornwell continues to explore the background of his classic character. Readers of the initial Sharpe series have heard about Assaye, but here it finally is in all its bloody glory. Corwell is among the most realistic of combat novelists and his battle descriptions are as good as any history book. Well done Mr. Cornwell.
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on September 3, 2003
This was my first Sharpe's book, but it sure won't be my last. On the strength of Sharpe's Triumph, I will read all the Sharpe's books in chronological order. I have already begun Sharpe's Tiger, and it is a captivating as Triumph.
Like all the Sharpe books, this one follows the adventures of infantryman, Richard Sharpe, a lowly born Englishman serving and making his way in Her Majesty's Army around the turn of the 19th Century. This puts him in the midst of the great Napoleonic Era of war making. A fascinating time for Military buffs. This particular novel is set in India and revolves around the battle of Assaye.
The strengths of this books are these:
First, this is an excellent historical novel. The firearms used, the methods of combat, the Indian political settings, and the settings are very accurate and transporting. But please don't get the idea the book is a dry history lesson. Cornwall wraps the history within a great, old fashioned tale of revenge and blood.
Secondly, the characters in this book, both real and imagined, are carefully drawn and utterly convincing. My favorite was the author's portrayal of General Arthur Wellesley (before he became the Duke of Wellington). The reader really gets a good sense of what made Wellesley such a great commander of men. The great General and future Duke is completely brought to life.
Finally, the battle writing is superb. Cornwall supplies you with a map of the battleground, and his writing is so clear and concise that you can actually see in your mind's eye the movement of men and the progress of the battle. It all makes sense! Battle during this time period was especially horrific with cannons pounding into the infantry to soften them up and cavalry sweeping down on rows of men the heavy blades. Cornwall has a knack for making the reader smell the spent black powder and feel the splashing of warm blood.
The fascinating aspect of this series is that Richard Sharpe is a war crazed soldier, seeking battle with joy in his heart. He really loves to fight and make war with no apologies and no analysis. This is the characteristic that makes the character so refreshing and exciting.
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on November 17, 2012
I struggled getting started with the first book in the Series but once I did it was a great read. This was a great continuation of the story around Sharpe. I'm not familiar with the actual history of the wars in India so I also learned a lot reading this book.
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on June 14, 2006
I read this book out of sequence, after starting my 'Sharpe Experience' with 'Sharpe's Rifles.'I think I might have enjoyed it more if I'd read the chronologically earlier book in the series, 'Sharpe's Tiger'. I found myself trying to adjust to Sharpe with a lower rank and in a different setting. I was so used to Sharpe the officer gaining the confidence of his men, that 'sergeant Sharpe' seemed a very differeent character to me.

In fact, I think 'Sharpe's Triumph' is hurt by its title character playing more of a supporting role. Sharpe is almost overshadowed by his superiors, and even by the story's villain!

Also, the inclusion of a real renegade officer as the 'bad guy' makes for something of anticlimactic ending...though it at least offers a satisfying conclusion to one of the book's subplots, and a hint of the respect Sharpe will gain in the future.

I would caution new readers not to start with this volume. Those who are interested in the 'India trilogy' should read them in the correct order. Personally, I'll go back to the 'Napoleonic War' stories.
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on August 15, 2006
This is another entry on the Sharpe series. It is fun, entertaining and very readable. Cornwell's research is as excellent as usual. He takes some licenses for the shake of the story and continuity, but this is OK. Some people are outraged by the portrait of some of the real historical characters, but historical characters are rarely depicted accurately in historical fiction, so I think this can be forgiven. Besides, usually a more serious account of these characters is given at the end of the book on the Historical Note.

Many people insist in compare this series with Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander. I don't think this is fair for any of the series, they are different entities. What they have in common is that once you start you may get hooked and devour one book after another...

And in the literary world today that is a rare and marvelous thing.
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on August 6, 1999
I confess! I saw this book in a store and paid retail price rather than wait for the better deal from That's because I have every one of Cornwell's books (including three contemporary thrillers) and I KNEW what was between the covers: a page turning yarn with vividly wrought characters, combined with impeccable historical accuracy. OK-- almost impeccable, but only to further the plot. I am so happy that Cornwell didn't stop the Sharpe series with Waterloo, and you will be too. One caution: if this is your first Bernard Cornwell book, your savings account balance is about to decrease. Bravo Mr. Cornwell!
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2000
Readers of the Sharpe series of books have been given tantalizing hints of how our intrepid hero rose from the enlisted ranks to that of a commissioned officer in Wellington's army. This book, at last, tells the tale, and an exciting one it is! Cornwell is an excellent writer, with an eye for even the smallest detail. His description of the battle of Assaye is, in my mind, the finest portrayal of any Napoleonic-era fight that I have ever read. The book has a lot of virtues; strong characterization, good plot, etc., but the battle scenes alone are worth the reading! All true Sharpe fans will love this work.
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