Cornwell takes us back to India in this book and the action is as intense as the novels set in Spain and France. These novels focusing on Sharpe's early career are especially interesting because the show him without the support of his Riflemen and without the officer's rank that is the source of much of his pride and many of his problems. But this is the novel where Sergeant Sharpe suddenly realizes that his ambitions go far beyond his non-commissioned rank. And in making the decision to try to rise to officer he knows that he is consigning himself to an almost certain death, because his only chance to become an officer is through an act of suicidal bravery on the battlefield that is noticed by a senior officer. The decision to attack at Assaye by Sir Arthur Wellesley gives Sharpe his opportunity. Longtime readers of the Sharpe novels know what he did to get himself promoted at Assaye, and Cornwell does his usual masterful job in describing this horrific, heroic deed. This book has everything Sharpe fans have come to love, and anyone who has never read this series should gather up their pennies and carve out a few weekends to devour them all. You'll find yourself addicted.