Bernard Cornwell, “Sharpe’s Tiger”

Sean Bean is the link here, folks. He played Eddard Stark in S1 of Game of Thrones. He also played Richard Sharpe in the British TV series Sharpe.

Patrick O’Brian is the other link. Sometimes people who see the O’Brians lined up on my bookshelf (at eye height: just happened that way alphabetically) suggest I might want to try the Sharpe series. Book people are helpful that way, you know?

So I thought I would investigate and I am here to tell you that Bernard Cornwell is not Patrick O’Brian. And Richard Sharpe, for all his quick wit and resourcefulness, is neither Jack Aubrey nor Stephen Maturin (perish the thought). Please note I am leaving Russell Crowe vs. Sean Bean out of this.

Other links: the military, obviously. Cornwell is quite attentive to strategy and he’s got lots of exotic lingo to play with. In Sharpe’s Tiger I took note of the crucial moment when Sharpe first shot a rifle as opposed to the ridiculously inaccurate musket that was his usual weapon. The tools of war are part of the reader’s fun.  Sharpe’s Tiger, set in India at the turn of the 18th century,  is a prequel to the bulk of the series which covers the Napoleonic wars. Like the Aubrey/Maturin books. 

But I read O’Brian for much more than naval strategy, and subtle characterization wasn’t on offer here. What was — and I found it disconcerting — was a real appetite for gore, a kind of relish that bordered on the creepy.

So now we know. Popular series of books in which the British fight Napoleon are not all the same, OK?

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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2 Responses to Bernard Cornwell, “Sharpe’s Tiger”

  1. Mary says:

    How is it that our tastes are so similar? Russell Crowe/Jack Aubrey vs Sean Bean/Sharpe is not a choice I would want to make!

  2. carolwallace says:

    Separated at birth, Mary? But really Paul Bettany/Stephen Maturin gets my vote every time though in my head as I read, Maturin is actually played by Ian Holm in a bad mood.

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