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Sharpe's Fortress: The Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803 (The Sharpe Series, Book 3): Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803 [Paperback]

Bernard Cornwell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Jun 2007 The Sharpe Series (Book 3)

Sharpe, having just received his commission, faces his toughest battle yet in this return to India, the terrain of the bestselling Sharpe’s Tiger. Repackaged in the fantastic new Sharpe look.

Sir Arthur Wellesley's army is closing on the retreating Mahrattas in western India. Marching with the British is Ensign Richard Sharpe, newly made an officer, wishing he had stayed a sergeant.

An act of treachery by Sharpe’s old enemy, Sergeant Hakeswill puts him in terrible danger, and leads him to the horror of the impregnable Gawilghur’s ravine. To regain his confidence and his authority, Sharpe will fight as he has never fought before.

Soldier, hero, rogue – Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (4 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006510310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006510314
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

Product Description


‘Sharpe and his creator are national treasures.' Sunday Telegraph

'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail

'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.’ George R.R. Martin

From the Back Cover

It is 1803, and closing on the retreating Mahrattas in western India is Sir Arthur Wellesley’s army and with it Ensign Richard Sharpe, newly commissioned but wishing he had stayed a sergeant. Spurned by his new regiment, he is sent to the army’s baggage train and there finds corruption, romance, treason and enemies old and new, including the murderous Sergeant Hakeswill who has powerful friends while Sharpe’s only ally is an orphaned Arab boy.

And waiting with the cornered Mahrattas is another enemy, the renegade Englishman William Dodd, who envisages a glorious triumph, for the Mahrattas have taken refuge in Gawilghur, India’s greatest stronghold, perched high on cliffs above the Deccan Plain. He who rules in Gawighur, it is said, rules India, and Dodd knows that the fortress is impregnable, but it is here that Sharpe must face his enemies …

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a litte tired 8 Dec 2009
With any Sharpe novel you know you are going to get a fast-paced, well told story and plenty of action. This is no exception. Here our hero must battle the prejudices of his own comrades as he rises to the rank of Ensign as well as the forces of Gawilghur lead by old enemy William Dodd and arch nemesis Obadiah Hakeswill, Sharpe's nemesis from the first two books. The early chapters, describing Sharpe's exposure of his Captain's corruption and subsequent kidnap are lively and interesting. Once again, as punishment for his honesty, Sharpe finds he must fight a couple of enormous local thugs known as Jettis and once again he eventually prevails. It as at this point where the novel begins to struggle a bit. It is difficult to see why Cornwell could not at least invent some other evil for Sharpe to overcome. The Jetti fight is almost identical to that in Sharpe's Tiger. Following the fight Sharpe basically seems to do what he wants, wandering from regiment to regiment at will and pretty much making his own orders. Of course we allow Cornwell a good bit of licence with Sharpe in the name of good story-telling but this really does stretch credulity a little too far. The Siege itself is well told and Sharpe conducts himself with his usual daring aplomb but again there are some things which are difficult to accept. It is never fully explained for example, why after taking the outer Fort, the British cannot simply wait and starve their opponents instead of ploughing recklessly forward on the same afternoon. This is not to say that in reality there was not a very pressing reason, it is just that is not explained here. Instead the capture of the fort feels a little too inevitable. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sharpe's Fortress is the third of the stories about Richard Sharpe in India. If you haven't read Sharpe's Tiger and Sharpe's Triumph, I strongly urge you to read those books before this one. You'll like them, and they provide very helpful background for the events in Sharpe's Fortress.

After saving Sir Arthur Wellesley's life at the Battle of Assaye (described in Sharpe's Triumph, book two in chronology in the series), Richard Sharpe was raised out of the ranks into the officer class as an ensign. In Sharpe's Fortress, it becomes obvious that he's arrived in no man's land in a Scottish unit. The Scots don't want any English in the unit; most ensigns are about 12 years old and don't do anything except watch; and men in the ranks are jealous of Sharpe's promotion.

It is kindly suggested that Sharpe either sell his commission or join a new unit, one based in England. Sharpe doesn't want to do either one, and he's even more depressed when he is asked to take a temporary assignment helping get the supplies up to the front lines.

Arriving at his new assignment, it's clear that something is badly wrong. Needed supplies are being stolen left and right. Sharpe quickly gets to the bottom of the thefts and develops new enemies. Meanwhile, his old enemy Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill has survived Sharpe's last attempt to do away with him in Sharpe's Triumph and has new plans for Sharpe.

The main focus of the story is on the continuing war between the British and their allies and the Mahrattas in India. Turncoat William Dodd has gained every higher rank in the Mahratta forces and is looking forward to a huge victory when the British come to attack the seemingly impregnable fortress of Gawilghur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great continuation of the Sharpe series 1 July 2000
By "mos11"
Cornwell has written another excellent Richard Sharpe novel.
For me, the most gripping part of this (and others in the series) is the realistic account of the battles and the effects on the soldiers. Being in the British Army at the beginning of the 19th century must have been hell.
Against the backdrop of blood and guts, the author has woven a good story with considered charaterisation. Recommeded.
Since this novel ends at the battle of Gawilghur (1803), and Sharpe's Rifles commences in 1809, I wonder how many more novels Sharpe can feature in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best of the "Sharpe in India" series 8 July 1999
By A Customer
Sharpe's Fortress is the best of the Cornwell's novels chronicling our hero's adventures in India, but it still lacks the character development of the books set in the Peninsula campaign. Hakeswill never appeared to be much of a threat and was unecessary as a foil for Sharpe since Dodd, a much more interesting foe, was present. The idea that the fortress actually existed and was attacked by Scottish and Sepoy troops makes the novel all the more fascinating and exciting. All in all, a fun and quick read and a welcome addition to the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply another brilliant Sharpe book. 7 April 1999
By A Customer
A really enjoyable read from a brilliant author. You'll probably read it in one sitting as the storyline is so absorbing. I felt that this book was even better than 'Triumph' and it further develops the character of Richard Sharpe. It definately lives up to the standard of the previous books and concludes the India series very well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Answers some of the questions 27 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Once again Bernard Cornwell provides his followers with more of his famous character--Richard Sharpe. Continuing his series of "prequals" to Sharpe's Rifles, Cornwell has Sharpe suffer a bit more in India against foes both new and old to the reader. Cornwell notes that he has taken major liberties as an author by inserting his fictional character into the final battle, but it still a wonderful story. What I enjoyed was finding out the details behind the Sharpe story...such as how he got his telescope and his scar. We also have our first introduction to the Rifles that we will come to know and love so much. I can't wait to see how Sharpe loses his fortune, since we know he is penniless in Sharpe's Rifles. All in all...a good story in a wonderful series!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Reason to buy
Had already read the book and wanted to read it again so chose to put it on my new Kindle
Published 8 days ago by Jungle
4.0 out of 5 stars getting hooked
This si my 3rd sharpe When i read the first I said it was predicatable , and was'nt really sure wether to read any more ,however I find I am getting hooked , sharpe has a charmed... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Donald Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book
I though this book was brilliant it was straight to the point on the battle. This also proves a big chunk is missing from the tv series which I wanted to know about . Read more
Published 28 days ago by Mr. E. H. Harper
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book.
This is a great book, and once again Bernard Cromwell using sharpe brings history to life. Not only an entertaining read but has made me want to learn more about the British... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars - an o.k. read for 99p
I confess I had never read a Sharpe novel until I saw the series on TV a few years ago, though I have read and
enjoyed the Starbuck series. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Never disappointed with the Sharpe, only wish I had read them in...
It seems that ever time you want to put the book down Sharpe gets into another spot of bother so you have to carry on reading to see how he sorts it out. No house work done today.
Published 6 months ago by Mr James Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent condition
I bought this for my husband as he watched the series on television and he enjoyed it very much, he hasn't read any yet.
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. E. A. Lawrence
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Sharpe Book
The third in the Sharpe series, and the last based in India, and again another great well written fact based book from Bernard Cornwell.
Published 7 months ago by Graham Charity
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Sharpe's Fortress is predominately concerned with the attack by British forces on the fort of Gawilglur in December 1803. Read more
Published 9 months ago by RK
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read !
as with all bernard cornwalls books one book runs into another with the story twisting and turning this way and that. all in all a very good read could not put it down!/
Published 9 months ago by stephen j clarke
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