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Sharpe's Triumph: The Battle of Assaye, September 1803 (The Sharpe Series, Book 2) [Abridged, Audiobook, CD] [Hardcover]

Bernard Cornwell , Paul McGann
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 May 2009 The Sharpe Series (Book 2)

The latest of Cornwell’s perennially popular Sharpe adventures, returning, like Sharpe’s Tiger, to India, and culminating with the battle at Assaye which Wellington considered his greatest victory.

Sergeant Richard Sharpe witnesses a murderous act of treachery by an English officer who has defected from the East India Company to join the Mahratta Confederation. In the hunt for the renegade Englishman, Sharpe penetrates deep into enemy territory where he is followed relentlessly by his worst enemy, Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill.

The paths of treachery all lead to the small villiage of Assaye where Sir Arthur Wellesley, with a diminished British army, faces the Mahratta horde. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wellesley plunges his men into the white heat of battle. A battle that will make his reputation, and perhaps Sharpe’s too.

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.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Abridged edition edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007261896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007261895
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 992,810 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

India, 1803. It is four years since Richard Sharpe earned his sergeant's stripes at the siege of Seringapatam, and four years in which Sharpe seems to have discovered the easiest billet in the British army. But that comfort is rudely shattered when he witnesses a murderous act of treachery by an English officer who has defected from the East India Company to join the mercenary army of the Mahratta Confederation commanded by the flamboyant Hanoverian, Anthony Pohlmann.

Sharpe is ordered to join the hunt for the renegade Englishman, a hunt that will take him deep into the enemy's territory where he will face temptations more subtle than he has ever dreamed of. And behind him, relentlessly stalking him, comes his worst enemy, the baleful, twitching Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill who is determined to break Sharpe once and for all.

The paths of treachery all lead to the small village of Assaye where Sir Arthur Wellesley, with a tiny British army, faces the Mahratta horde. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wellesley decides to fight, and Sergeant Richard Sharpe is plunged into the white heat of a battle that will make Wellesley's reputation. It will make Sharpe's name to, but only if he can survive the carnage and killing frenzy, for it is at Assaye that he at last realizes his ambition and has a chance to seize it.

'Sharpe's Triumph' is a magnificent novel of the British in India, and of the battle which Arthur Wellesley, after he had become the Duke of Wellington, reckoned to be his greatest achievement. It will delight the millions of readers who have enjoyed Sharpe's later adventures in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo.

Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as producer on the 'Nationwid' programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television's 'Thames at Six'. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.

Twelve of Bernard Cornwell's bestselling Sharpe novels have been made into highly acclaimed films.

Videos of the 'Sharpe' television series are now available

Bernard Cornwell is also the author of the bestselling Starbuck chronicles, a series of novels that portray the American Civil War.

"A rollicking treat for Cornwell's many fans"

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wellington and Sharpe - the beginning. 19 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Having marched and fought with Richard Sharpe from the Peninsula to Waterloo and beyond, it was with great interest that I journeyed back in time with him, and indeed Wellesley, to India. "Tiger," in all honesty, I found difficult to get into, although by the end I was once more with Sharpe in the thick of the action. "Triumph," on the other hand, had me hooked from the very start, and I would say to the new Sharpe reader - start with "Tiger" and persevere. "Triumph" fills in a lot of gaps in the Sharpe story as a whole, and after that, "Fortress" awaits you - and how! By the time you have fought at Assaye, won through at Ahmednuggur, and conquered Gawilghur, you deserve a rest, and a leisurely sea-voyage back home to England. But by then the year is 1805, and you will have to sail close to the South-West tip of Spain, the cape of Trafalgar. Who knows what will happen?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wellesleys's Triumph 4 May 2009
Apparently, when asked towards the end of his life which battle he was most proud of, Wellington, without hesitation, named Assaye in 1803. Given the overwhelmingly poor odds he faced at the start of the battle and how quickly those odds were turned on their head, this seems entirely reasonable. It is presumably in honour of this achievement that Cornwell chose to focus this novel on Wellington rather than Sharpe who spends most of the novel following his General along dutifully and only getting involved in the fighting towards the end. This is not really a criticism. The book ably and engagingly relates firstly the breathtaking story of the audacious escalade at Ahmednuggur and then the great battle at Assaye.

As with Sharpe's Tiger Cornwell's research and ability to render extremely complex and confused battles both comprehensible and compelling is faultless. When Wellesley's Army first encounters its vast enemy across the River Kaitna I was reminded of the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. Carefully and with meticulous attention to detail Cornwell describes the movements of each side which lead ultimately to a veritable David versus Goliath style victory. Military tactics such as how and when Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry are most effectively deployed and when they are virtually useless are explained clearly without any let up in drama or excitement. If you have any interest in how battles were fought in the early nineteenth century you could do a lot worse than read this.

Perhaps inevitably, I have few criticisms; firstly Hakeswill is no less ridiculous than he was in Sharpe's Tiger, secondly I struggled a bit with Wellesley's determination to ford the river at a point where no one believed it could be done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Sharpe fans 21 May 2007
Like otehr readers, I was a little wary of delving back into the 'Sharpe' prequels; I woudl say that they are every bit as good as the original series.

Whilst it may be true that some of the characters are a little wooden, they all contribute to Sharpe's development as a soldier and a potential officer.

The battle scenes are brutal and detailed as ever, most particularly the battle of Assaye - which sees Sharpe defending Wellesley (Wellington) - a relationship that lasts until teh Battle of Waterloo. We also see a continuation of Hakeswill's malicious intent against Sharpe.

In all, we see Sharpe's frustrations and motivations, becoming teh officer that we know and love. I look forward to the next installment and intend on re-reading the entire series again. I am sure that these prequels will enhance the enjoyment - the commuppance of Hakeswill, Sharpe's acceptance as an officer etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A typical gripping Sharpe adventure. 1 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This book has many similarities with Star Wars Episode one : it fills in the gaps in Richard Sharpes early life. Sergeant Hakeswill is still hot on his trail, and it is at the Battle of Assaye that Richard Sharpe saves the life of General Wellesley. This event leads to his promotion to Ensign, the first step away from the ranks of enlisted men. If you have read previous Sharpe books you will know exactly what to expect. As with the Star Wars film, you know the final outcome, after all, the main characters all appear in later (chronologically) books, but this does not spoil the enjoyment of a rattling good read, particularly when on holiday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wellesley's Triumph 13 Jan 2012
I find Sharpe's Triumph a little different to all of the other Sharpe novels because I dont think Richard Sharpe is the hero of this story. The final third of the book, which details the brutal Battle of Assaye, is very much the story of General Wellesley, probably the greatest military commander in British history.

Sharpe has his moments obviously, swinging his sword against a dozen Mahratta's and 'effin & blindin' his way towards a battlefield commission like only Sharpe can. But for me he spends much of the battle as a spectator while the Scottish regiments are being blown to pieces. Meanwhile Wellesley is making up a battle plan, fording a river and sending his small army up against the odds with the certainty that the enemy 'will not stand'.

That's not to take anything away from Sharpe's Triumph as a novel. The Sharpe series is nothing without Wellesley and I loved the fact that this book gave me a real detailed glimpse of the battle from the General's point of view. The usual cast of Cornwellian villains are there, the delightfully vile Obadiah Hakeswill, the clueless commissioned officers and the downright evil William Dodd.

As with most Sharpe books the map at the beginning is essential if you are going to understand the battle itself, and Cornwell's dramatic style of historical fiction is highly addictive. These books also inspire me to research the true story of these battles and Assaye is a remarkable feat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 8 days ago by mr d m mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Second Sharpe Novel
Another superbly exciting sojourn into proto colonial India. Cornwell is so good at describing battles that it feels like being there. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dances With Yaks
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Cornwell's development of the antagonism between Sharpe and Hawkswill is well told, slowly building from one climax to another, never boring
Published 3 months ago by Iain Foyers
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
Again a very good and we'll written book looking forward to reading the next in the series these early books are not on the tv series
Published 4 months ago by stevereads
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe's Battle
I have read and reread all the books in the Sharpe,s series and never tire of them.
I have also read most of the historical novels bythe same author
Published 4 months ago by pablo woolley
4.0 out of 5 stars good hard back
good condition for second hand book.very interesting historical fiction book .great story that you dont want to put down.great author.
Published 4 months ago by Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Triumph for Sharpe
I love every Cornwall book that I have read so far. Plenty of the usual action set during the campaign against the Mahrattas. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. R. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good one.
Having seen many of the TV films and enjoyed them, I have rather belatedly decided to read the books in chronological order. Read more
Published 5 months ago by NodNodPilot
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
Always liked the films, now reading the books!
Looks like the way Sharpe speaks has been carried across to the films, you can just picture it.
Published 6 months ago by Johnb100
3.0 out of 5 stars free story.
a very short story that has been in the sunday papers, too short for a paperback its ok for a freebee.
Published 7 months ago by stephen j clarke
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