Sharpe Books

The Sharpe series of books are a series of historical fiction books written by Bernard Cornwell, which focus on the character of Richard Sharpe, as he makes his way through the ranks of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century. A man in his early seventies, Cornwell was born in early 1944 in London. He was the so-called military brat, as his both parents served in the armed forces. An adoption arrangement prompted Cornwell to spend his early years in Essex whereby he was reared by a highly religious adoptive family.

Order of Richard Sharpe Series

# Read Title Published
1 Sharpe's Gold 1981
2 Sharpe's Eagle 1981
3 Sharpe's Sword 1983
4 Sharpe's Enemy 1984
5 Sharpe's Honor 1985
6 Sharpe's Regiment 1986
7 Sharpe's Siege 1987
8 Sharpe's Rifles 1988
9 Sharpe's Revenge 1989
10 Sharpe's Waterloo 1990
11 Sharpe's Devil 1992
12 Sharpe's Battle 1995
13 Sharpe's Tiger 1997
14 Sharpe's Triumph 1998
15 Sharpe's Fortress 1999
16 Sharpe's Skirmish 1999
17 Sharpe's Trafalgar 2000
18 Sharpe's Prey 2001
19 Sharpe's Christmas 2003
20 Sharpe's Havoc 2003
21 Sharpe's Escape 2004
22 Sharpe's Fury 2006
23 Sharpe's Company 2009
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Cornwell got his basic education from Monkton Combe School and his undergraduate studies from London University. Cornwell has been a teacher and worked at BBC Television wherein he headed BBC, Northern Ireland bureaux. Cornwell’s literary series range from trilogies to tetralogies to a quintet; however, Sharpe series is the biggest among them as it consists of over twenty books. Did you know that Cornwell has co-authored a trilogy with his wife Judy?. The latter adopted the nom de plume Susannah Kells?

Bernard Cornwell’s inspiration for writing books is connected with meeting his wife, Judy, in Belfast while still working for the BBC. Circumstances prevented Judy from relocating to and living in Britain, prompting Cornwell to relocate to America instead. With neither a Green Card nor work permit, Cornwell could not get a formal job. The only occupation that did not require a work permit was writing. The migrant issue, coupled with his long desire to chronicle the exploits of a British military man in the Napoleonic Wars era, culminated in the writing of the Sharpe series. The identity of the protagonist is based on a similarly named rugby player.

Alternatively named Richard Sharpe series, Sharpe series is a broad novel series because it comprises of 21 major works but 38 works in total, including omnibuses. The books in the Sharpe series have been listed chronologically but not in the manner in which Cornwell wrote them. As such, some of the books published relatively recently are listed first whereas those published relatively earlier are listed afterwards. Out of the approximately 60 editions of the first book listed therein, the first edition was initially published in June 1997, entitled Sharpe’s Tiger; the book is classified within the war books and historical fiction categories.

Cornwell’s protagonist in the Sharpe series is named Richard Sharpe. Despite being uneducated and a one-time criminal, protagonist Richard Sharpe is a sharp-witted and daring British Army soldier around 1800s. The youthful military man, who is often at the receiving end of his superior, gets promoted progressively; he joined the military as a private, became a sergeant, got promoted to an ensign and second-lieutenant before becoming a lieutenant colonel.

The Sharpe series of book tells the story of Richard Sharpe, who we first meet in the book Sharpe’s Eagle, which, although is the first book published in the Sharpe series of books, is the eighth book in the story of Richard Sharpe. Sharpe’s Eagle was released in 1981 and is set in the Talavera Campaign of 1809. In the book, Sharpe has already attained the rank of Lieutenant, moving through the ranks from a private when he joined in 1793. The story of Sharpe’s Eagle sees Richard Sharpe having to lead a group of inexperienced Redcoats into battle, using all his experience and bravery to get the best out of them against Napoleon’s forces in Spain.

The first book in Richard Sharpe’s story, although not the first book written in the series, is Sharpe’s Tiger, which details Richard’s Sharpe starting out on his career path in the British Army in India, having been demoted back to the rank of private from the rank of sergeant after breaking wind while on parade. In Sharpe’s Tiger, Richard Sharpe must free himself and his comrades from capture, and also help take down the army of Tappoo Sultan.

The rest of the Sharpe series follows Sharpe’s rise through the ranks from his time in India in Sharpe’s Tiger, and his story is concluded in the book Sharpe’s Devil, which was released in 1993. However, after Cornwell finished Sharpe’s story, he went back through his timeline and filled in missing stories with various books and short stories. In all, there are 24 books and short stories that tell the tale of Richard Sharpe and his rise through the British Army. And if the books are not enough for you, they were also made into a television series, simply called Sharpe, starring Sean Bean.

Sharpe Awards

In 2012, Cornwell’s 2012 book named 1356, which is the fourth in the serialized Grail Quest, was shortlisted for the National Book Awards, in the Popular Fiction Book of the Year section.

Sharpe Books into Movies and TV Shows

The 2015 TV Show named The Last Kingdom is adapted from Cornwell’s series titled The Saxon Stories. Alexander Dreymon acts as Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Cornwell’s Sharpe series has since been adapted into a British TV series, whereby Sean Bean Sharpe appears as Richard Sharpe; the TV series, which has 16 episodes, first aired in 1993.

Best Sharpe Books

These are the best Sharpe books—the first three books in the Sharpe series. The first is Sharpe’s Tiger.

Sharpe’s Triumph: In 1803, Sharpe, presently a sergeant, is recalled to join the manhunt for a traitorous, rogue soldier in the East India Company amid a malicious arch-rival.

Sharpe’s Fortress: In 1803; Sharpe, who is now an ensign, is among the soldiers fastening on to retreating Indian enemy forces that seek refuge in a impassable fortress; worse still, Sharpe is dealing with dissenting and defiant subordinates and a bedeviling arch-rival.

Other Book Series You May Like

Readers who enjoyed Sharpe series also liked these literary series. “Charles Hayden” series, authored by Sean Thomas Russell, narrates the naval warfare achievements of Charles Hayden, a Royal Navy veteran.

“Aubrey/Maturin” series, penned by Patrick O’Brian, is all about the camaraderie between a Royal Navy captain named Jack Aubrey and a navy surgeon named called Stephen Maturin.

Julian Stockwin’s “Kydd Sea Adventure” series recounts the military career of protagonist Thomas Kydd after conscription into the Royal Navy in the 1790s.

Sharpe FAQs

Q: Who writes the Sharpe series?

A: The Sharpe series of books is written by historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell.

Q: When is the Sharpe series set?

A: The first Sharpe book takes place in 1799, while the rest of the series continues through the early part of the 18th century, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

Q: What is the name of the lead character in the Sharpe series?

A: The lead character in the Sharpe series of books is Richard Sharpe. Although his rank changes throughout the series of books, he starts out in the British Army as Private Sharpe.

Q: What is the first book in the Sharpe series?

A: Chronologically, the first book in the Sharpe series is Sharpe’s Tiger. The first book released in the series was Sharpe’s Eagle, followed by Sharpe’s Gold, both in 1981.

Q: Who played Sharpe on TV?

A: The character of Richard Sharpe was played by Sean Bean on TV. Sean Bean also played Ned Stark in the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones.

Q: What order should I read the Sharpe series in?

A: The Sharpe series should be read in the following order: Sharpe’s Tiger, Sharpe’s Triumph, Sharpe’s Fortress, Sharpe’s Trafalgar, Sharpe’s Prey, Sharpe’s Rifles, Sharpe’s Havoc, Sharpe’s Eagle, Sharpe’s Gold, Sharpe’s Escape, Sharpe’s Fury, Sharpe’s Battle, Sharpe’s Company, Sharpe’s Sword, Sharpe’s Skirmish, Sharpe’s Enemy, Sharpe’s Honour, Sharpe’s Regiment, Sharpe’s Christmas, Sharpe’s Siege, Sharpe’s Revenge, Sharpe’s Waterloo, Sharpe’s Ransom, and finally Sharpe’s Devil.