Sharpe is sent on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the army of the Tippoo, a Muslim leader who's causing the British troops no end of trouble in India. Sharpe finds out some crucial knowledge which he must pass back to the British, but is captured and held in a dungeon, guarded by a tiger.
This was a real cracker. I had sort of expected a re-run of Sharpe's Rifles but set in India, but the plot was quite different and gripping all the way through. This is the book that introduces Sergeant Hakeswill, who first gets Sharpe sentenced to a flogging and then swears to ruin him when Sharpe is released after enduring only a couple of hundred lashes.
The whole story is great stuff, with heroics from Sharpe and black villainy from Hakeswill. Although the events in this book precede those in Sharpe's Rifles, I think this book was written later, which may explain why Sharpe seems a more rounded character here than in that book. I think this book was better. With no pause, it's on to Sharpe's Triumph.
Completed : 26-Mar-2005 (audiobook, read by William Gaminara)