Sharpe’s Triumph (book)

Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803

Here is our cast of Characters for this book. We see a lot of new faces, but a few of the old ones from Sharpe’s Tiger show up again.:

  • Richard Sharpe – British Army Sergeant, protagonist
  • Major General Arthur Wellesley – commander of British and Indian Allied Forces in South Central India
  • Lieutenant Colin Campbell – who led the storming of the walls of Ahmednaghar
  • Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill – Sharpe’s enemy
  • Simone Joubert – wife to the Frenchman Joubert
  • Colonel Hector McCandless – Scottish intelligence officer for the British East India Company, friend of Sharpe
  • Colonel Anthony Pohlmann – the defected Hanoverian sergeant who became Scindia’s army commander
  • Major William Dodd – the traitorous British East India Company lieutenant now serving Scindia, he commands a specialize Sepoy company known as Dodd’s Cobras
  • Daulat Scindia – the Indian raja of Gwalior, a state within the Maratha Confederacy
  • Raghji Bhonsle – the raja of Berar, an ally of Scindia
  • Captain Morris – the commanding officer of the 33rd Light Company

Sharpe’s Triumph is the second book in the Sharpe series chronologically and the second book set in India. Richard is now a sergeant, as promised in Sharpe’s Tiger. Sharpe has command of a small detachment of men and is tasked with collecting ammunition from an isolated East India Company fort. Sharpe and his men take a few moments to rest while Sharpe deals with a crooked East India man, when a Lieutenant William Dodd arrives with a company of Sepoys that massacre everyone at the fort. Sharpe survives by hiding under the bodies of his men, and, badly wounded, escapes after Dodd and company leaves.

When Sharpe returns to his base in Seringapatam, he tells his commanding officer, Major Stokes, about the massacre and that he blames himself, despite Stokes’ reassurances that is was not his fault. Colonel McCandless (from Sharpe’s Tiger) arrives to question Sharpe about Dodd and after we learn Dodd is a deserter of the East India Company, McCandless orders Sharpe to accompany him on the hunt for Dodd.

Dodd is working with a commander of Daulat Scindia’s army, Colonel Anthony Pohlmann, and is awarded a promotion to Major for his actions at the fort. He is also given his own battalion. Pohlmann gives Dodd command of Ahmednuggar as the rest of Scindia’s forces withdraw. Major General Arthur Wellesley attacks the town and succeeds, sending Dodd and his men running for the hills. Meanwhile, we meet our old hated “friend” Obadiah Hakeswill as he plots once more to kill Sharpe, this time to steal the treasures he stole from the Tippoo Sultan when he killed him. Sharpe was keeping quiet about the kill so as not to be robbed. Hakeswill found out and is trying to frame Sharpe for an attack on Captain Morris and his hunting him down with a small group of men.

During the attack on the city, Sharpe runs into and saves Simone Joubert, the French-Mauritian wife of a French officer in Dodd’s regiment. McCandless tells her he will return her to her husband and takes the opportunity to spy on the Maratha Army. They do not leave immediately however, and Sharpe, in true fashion, beds Simone. The next morning, Pohlmann tries to recruit Sharpe, who almost joins until McCandless is shot and their horses are stolen. Sharpe captures one of the thieves, but suspects Dodd put him up to it. Without proof, Pohlmann executes the theif by having his head crushed under an elephant’s foot. Meanwhile at the British Camp, Hakeswill tried to convince Wellesley to give him Sharpe, until he is informed Sharpe is in enemy territory and may not return for some time, then he assigns Hakeswill to the baggage train. This infuriated Hakeswill, who dare not disobey an officer.

After hearing the offer from Pohlmann to be made an officer, Sharpe, who stayed behind to care for the wounded McCandless, has thoughts on how to become an officer in the British Army. McCandless tries to dissuade him, since officers in the Army at that time were solely high born or nobles that paid for their rank. Officers commissioned from the ranks was rare and they never truly fit in anymore. Not one of the privileged and not one of the men of the ranks anymore.

Once McCandless is well enough to travel, they make their way back to the Army where Sharpe buys one of Wellesley’s spare horses as a gift for McCandless. He pretends that McCandless is buying the horse to not raise suspicions on how a sergeant came up with that kind of money. McCandless sees right through Sharpe, and although Sharpe never admits to it, he figures out it was Sharpe who killed the Tippoo. Hakeswill finally catches up with them and approaches McCandless about arresting Sharpe. He shows McCandless the warrant that McCandless smudges. He refuses to let Sharpe go on the count that the warrant is for “Richard Sharp” not “Richard Sharpe.” Hakeswill is sent back to the baggage train, unhappy.

The Maratha leadership meet and discuss their battle plans. They decide to attack the British near Assaye and they give Pohlmann command of the armies. The British Army is split in two with one half of the forces commanded by Colonel Stevenson and the other by Wellesley. Pohlmann plans to attack one then the other, but Wellesley stumbles on the Maratha forces. During the battle McCandless confronts Hakeswill, saying he and Sharpe had left the base before Morris was attacked and he knew Hakeswill was lieing. At the front, Wellesley’s aid is killed and Sharpe is assigned to take over. Wellesley is unhorsed and Sharpe saves him, killing several men in the process. Wellesley thanks Sharpe and continues on with the battle, leaving Sharpe alone.

McCandless entered Assaye with the British troops and ends up finding Pohlmann’s pet elephant that crushed the skull of the thief, but is killed by Hakeswill to prevent him from revealing Sharpe’s innocence. The Maratha forces flee and in the chaos Sharpe finds Pohlmann and lets him go. He was mad at Wellesley for his perceived ingratitude after he saved his life and wanted to “stick it to the man”. He also found Simone Jubert who is now a widow thanks to the retreating Dodd. Sharpe promises to protect her. When he eventually catches up with the Army and Wellesley, he is given a field commission for gallantry and is enlisted as an Ensign in the 74th, commanded by a friend of McCandless, Colonel Wallace. Wallace congratulates Sharpe and is interrupted by Hakeswill who is trying to arrest Sharpe again. Little do they both know, McCandless told Wallace of the bogus warrant and Wallace tells Hakeswill off. Not before mentioning Sharpe’s new rank. Wallace leaves a horrified Hakeswill with the newly gazetted Sharpe. Sharpe throws Hakeswill in with Pohlmann’s elephant and orders it to crush Hakeswill. Sharpe then leaves to scavenge some new equipment befitting an officer.

The Dragon


Hello! I am The Dragon, creator of The Dragon’s, Jedite’s wife, Co-Creator of Captain Little Dude, Geek, Gamer, Nerd, fangirl, bookworm, and Pagan. Pastry Chef turned Web Designer. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Human. Feminist.