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5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe storms the fortress on the hill
This is the summation of the Cornwell's "India Trilogy" which follows British Soldier Richard Sharpe during the Mahratta War of 1803. In this novel, the English army must somehow take Gawalghur, a seemingly impenetrable mountaintop fortress and last bastion of the Mahratta army.
This is an excellent historical/military novel in that the siege of Gawalghur is...
Published on Sept. 19 2003 by M. Dog

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3.0 out of 5 stars Weakest of the Sharpe in India books
Not a terrible book, but definitely the weakest of the Sharpe novels set in India (the "Rifles" prequels). The battle scenes are quite good, but the perfunctory romance story feels so tacked-on that that one suspects Cornwell only included the female character because his formula required it. And the handling of Obadiah Hakeswill at the end is just annoying;...
Published on Jan. 7 2004


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4.0 out of 5 stars An Officer's Life Has Its Drawbacks for Richard Sharpe, Nov. 24 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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. Much of the story is taken up with various defenders imagining how they will destroy the British in the different traps that await them in the high fortress.

Those extremely detailed descriptions of the fortress become more than a little tiresome. You do have a reward, however, because you'll better understand the story that Cornwell tells about how the battle is won. Actually, the fictional report isn't terribly far off from the actual experience as the historical note indicates. It is only the exaggerated role for Sharpe that misleads . . . while providing a good way to help you understand the battle.

The battle scenes are terrific in this book. It's only the tedium of the redundant musings that keep this book for being a five-star effort.

As usual, Sharpe finds that while he has temporary conquests with the ladies, he isn't going to be the one who takes them home permanently.

Enjoy!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Weakest of the Sharpe in India books, Jan. 7 2004
By A Customer
Not a terrible book, but definitely the weakest of the Sharpe novels set in India (the "Rifles" prequels). The battle scenes are quite good, but the perfunctory romance story feels so tacked-on that that one suspects Cornwell only included the female character because his formula required it. And the handling of Obadiah Hakeswill at the end is just annoying; altogether too much like a James Bond villain's attempt to rid himself of Bond. To reiterate, not an awful novel, but it compares pretty poorly to the preceding "Sharpe's Triumph" or to the subsequent "Sharpe's Trafalgar."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe storms the fortress on the hill, Sept. 19 2003
This is the summation of the Cornwell's "India Trilogy" which follows British Soldier Richard Sharpe during the Mahratta War of 1803. In this novel, the English army must somehow take Gawalghur, a seemingly impenetrable mountaintop fortress and last bastion of the Mahratta army.
This is an excellent historical/military novel in that the siege of Gawalghur is explained in dramatic terms; the tactics, the officers, the siege itself, are all here. As always, Cornwell is unmatched in his talent for bringing military affairs to life. I felt as if I was right there with the engineers and soldiers, sweating in the noonday sun. And, of course, the bloodletting is always well described in a cornwell book.
During the intense military maneuverings, Sharpe has uncovered a crooked officer, who is misappropriating military supplies and sealing them on the black market. Sharpe is nearly killed for his discover, and then seeks revenge Richard Sharpe style.
Just a great book with great characters. Cornwell is particularly adept at writing a great villain. Sharpe's nemesis, the horrid Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill is here, of course, but my favorite bad guy was the crooked officer Captain Torrence. This guy puts the "C" in Creepy. In a beautiful bit of character development, Cornwell has Torrence nearly always receiving his staff in the nude. He explains this nudeness by claiming that with India being so hot and all, he just finds it more comfortable. Not so bad in and of itself, but what makes him creepy is the pleasure he takes at everyone's discomfort when in his presence.
Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, is here as well, perfectly described in his ever developing relationship to Richard Sharpe.
Buy it. You can't go wrong with a Sharpe book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The end of Sharpe's time in India?, Aug. 30 2003
By 
David Hassall (Wichita, KS) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In December 1803 the British Army had pushed back the Mahratta's to their last stronghold. A seemingly impenetrable fortress atop a mountain in a place named Gawilghur. Sharpe, now an officer, takes his heroism to a new level during the battle. The killing grounds of Gawilghur is where Sharpe becomes famous, already a hero to his General, he becomes a hero to the men.
The book see's an end to Sharpe's time in India, but it's a great finale to an awesome campaign that has seen Sharpe go from a lowly raw recruit to a hero with a commission. As with all Sharpe books history is told through Sharpe, this makes the book highly educational and interesting, the story is gripping and packed with action. It's a great read and a must for all Sharpe fans.
4 Stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent addition to the series, Dec 13 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Sharpe's Fortress (Hardcover)
As always, richard is center stage, and we watch in fascination as he grows and develops. He is a bit of an awkward youth in the first books, and quite rough around the edges, but he certainly grows on us, and the fascinating hiostorical details of India are first-rate.
Sorcha MacMurrough, author
Scars Upon Her Heart, Call Home the Heart
 
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1.0 out of 5 stars A low point in the Sharpe series, Aug. 14 2002
By 
Scott Blake (Teakettle Junction, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sharpe's Fortress (Hardcover)
After reading this, my first thought was "you're grounded Orville, that won't fly." The others in the series I've read were all good or better, this one is weak and poorly constructed. Cornwell spends too much time on secondary characters who aren't interesting. As for Hakeswill, Cornwell made a serious error in judgment by allowing him to return to haunt so many of the books. He's a good villain, but only in small doses. He shows up so much that his quirks and presence quickly grow tiresome and irritating. If this is the only book in the series you've read, don't despair because the others are much better. This one never gets off the ground and is of very poor quality compared to the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction is fun - particularly Cromwell, June 25 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Sharpe's Fortress (Hardcover)
One of the best Napoleonic War genre books by one of the all time best writers of that era. Cromwell captures the essence of India during the Mahratta war era. The real "First world war" is under way. England and France, with all their proxy forces are clashing around the globe. India, the sub continent serves as the perfect vechicle for Cromwell to back-fill the Sharpe series. Here you meet the dirt-bag Hakeswill and learn to loath him from the start. You get a sense of the climate, the trials, and enormity of conducting land operations in a forbidding country. Cromwell is a master in telling a war story, this one does not disappoint.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction is fun - particularly Cromwell, June 25 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Sharpe's Fortress (Hardcover)
One of the best Napoleonic War genre books by one of the all time best writers of that era. Cromwell captures the essence of India during the Mahratta war era. The real "First world war" is under way. England and France, with all their proxy forces are clashing around the globe. India, the sub continent serves as the perfect vechicle for Cromwell to back-fill the Sharpe series. Here you meet the dirt-bag Hakeswill and learn to loath him from the start. You get a sense of the climate, the trials, and enormity of conducting land operations in a forbidding country. Cromwell is a master in telling a war story, this one does not disappoint.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, Feb. 26 2002
By 
"p_trabaris" (Naperville, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Ensign Richard Sharpe of British 74th Infantry struggles with his assignment. Newly promoted as an officer to a Scottish regiment has him feeling like a fifth wheel. When the opportunity came for reassignment, he jumped at the chance and moved to the supply division under the command of Captain Torrance. Unbeknownst to Sharpe, Captain Torrance has enlisted the aid of Sharpe's worst enemy Sargent Obadiah Hakeswill. Now Sharpe must somehow outwit and survive the evil clutches of Torrance and Hakeswill. His objective is to rid the army of these two thieves and transfer to the newly formed Rifle division. Sharpe is surrounded by crooks, feckless officers and trapped deep in enemy territory. Things are hopeless, until...the Battle For Gawilghur.
I didn't want to give too much away.
As evidenced by "Sharpe's Fortress", Bernard Cornwell writes good books. He is fun to read and his stores are always packed with adventure, action and intrigue. As with all of Sharpe books they keep you interested until the end. I have trouble putting them down. Cornwell's style is fast paced plots and he keeps the story going, you may guess the ending but who cares, half the fun is getting there.
If this is your first Sharpe book don't let it be your last, Sharpe's Eagle or Sharpe's Company are among the best in the series. However, all of Cornwell's Sharpe books are good reads, you will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Be sure your sin will find you out" - Numbers 32:23, Jan. 27 2002
By 
Fred Camfield (Vicksburg, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sharpe's Fortress (Hardcover)
Most people are familiar with Richard Sharpe from the TV series based on later action in Spain. This novel (copyright 1999) steps back in time to 1803. The setting is India, and Sharpe has just risen from the ranks to become a somewhat old ensign, resented by his new regiment ("you can put a saddle on a cart horse, but..."). The story opens with action against Mahrattas at Argaum, and ends with the siege of Gawilghur.
Sharpe is a poorly educated refuge from the streets and a foundling home, the son of a prostitute, who has found a home in the British Army. He is a rough individual, willing to slit a man's throat, especially if the person has done him wrong. He has limited luck with women and learns the meaning of "Never, never trust a woman. You'll be sorry if you do." He had some luck acquiring jewels as his share of the spoils after a previous battle, but has trouble concealing them and hanging on to them.
Sharpe must contend with old enemies, such as Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, and some new enemies. He is a good man to have on your side in a fight, and is admired by some officers for his accomplishments. The novel has lots of action, considerable violence, but little sexual content. I would give it a PG-13 rating.
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Sharpe's Fortress (Richard Sharpe Adventure Series #3)
Sharpe's Fortress (Richard Sharpe Adventure Series #3) by Bernard Cornwell (Paperback - 1999)
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