-->''"Of course I am a thug. You are a thug. What is [[UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte the Emperor]], if not another thug? Thugs win, Richard."''
-->-'''John Lavisser'''

[[TheNameIsBondJamesBond His name is Sharpe. Richard Sharpe, of the 95th Rifles]]. And ChuckNorris, [[VideoGame/GodOfWar Kratos]], and [[Series/TheATeam Mr T.]] crap themselves in terror when this guy rolls into town.

Sergeant Richard Sharpe saves the life of [[UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington Sir Arthur Wellesley]] (from three Frenchmen on TV; from at least half-a-dozen Maratha warriors in the novels) and is rewarded with a FieldPromotion, making him an officer in the British Army. As a gutter-born bastard, Sharpe doesn't play well with regular officers, the [[UpperClassTwit rich gentlemen who bought their commissions]] and resent an [[UpThroughTheRanks upstart from "the ranks"]] being among their number. But Sharpe's field experience, rough nature and ''damn'' good fighting skills give him an advantage when it comes to commanding soldiers. He leads from the front with [[WeaponOfChoice a Baker rifle and massive Heavy Cavalry sword]], and never far from his side is [[HeterosexualLifePartners longtime friend]] [[SergeantRock Sgt. Patrick Harper]] and [[SquadNickname the "Chosen Men"]], [[TheSquad a unit of elite riflemen]]. When not fighting [[HistoricalFiction some great bloody battle]], Sharpe and his companions are often sent on missions vital to the war effort by Wellington himself or his intelligence officers. Despite being poor and lacking "gentlemanly conduct", Sharpe achieves further promotions on his merit alone, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Battle of Waterloo.

In publication since 1981, the series of novels by Creator/BernardCornwell chronicle Sharpe's adventures in India, Portugal, Spain and beyond, from the beginning of his career to the very end. Though a fictional character, he's portrayed as being in the thick of real battles that occurred during the Napoleonic Wars, from the Siege of Seringapatam to the Battle of Waterloo; the novels are as much about the Duke of Wellington's campaigns shown from a new perspective as he fights the armies of UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. Cornwell has been writing and publishing the novels out of chronological order: ''Sharpe's Eagle'', published in 1981, is 8th in the series; ''Sharpe's Devil'', chronologically the last in the series, was published in 1992, and ''Sharpe's Fury'', the most recent novel published, is 11th in the series.

The novels have been adapted into a series of television movies starring SeanBean as Richard Sharpe, Daragh O'Malley as Patrick Harper and a slew of British talent in supporting roles (see Trivia), running regularly between 1993 and 1997, and with two additional miniseries in 2006 and 2008. The series was well-received and proved a breakout role for Bean, who went on to star in ''Film/GoldenEye'', ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' and ''Series/GameOfThrones''. Much of the plot and backstory from the novels was compressed, modified or jettisoned, and several new stories were invented for the screen.

How badass is Sharpe? Well, put it this way: ''[[ChronicallyKilledActor he survived being played by]] SeanBean!''

[[folder:Sharpe novels]]
* ''Sharpe's Tiger'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799[[/note]] (published 1997)
* ''Sharpe's Triumph'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803[[/note]] (1998)
* ''Sharpe's Fortress'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803[[/note]] (1999)
* ''Sharpe's Trafalgar'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Trafalgar, October 1805[[/note]] (2000)
* ''Sharpe's Prey'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Copenhagen, 1807[[/note]] (2001)
* ''Sharpe's Rifles'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the French Invasion of Galicia, January 1809[[/note]] (1988)
* ''Sharpe's Havoc'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Campaign in Northern Portugal, Spring 1809[[/note]] (2003)
* ''Sharpe's Eagle'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Talavera Campaign, July 1809[[/note]] (1981)
* ''Sharpe's Gold'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Destruction of Almeida, August 1810[[/note]] (1981)
* ''Sharpe's Escape'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Bussaco, September 1810[[/note]] (2004)
* ''Sharpe's Fury'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Barrosa (March 1811), Winter 1811[[/note]] (2007)
* ''Sharpe's Battle'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, May 1811[[/note]] (1995)
* ''Sharpe's Company'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Badajoz, January to April 1812[[/note]] (1982)
* ''Sharpe's Sword'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Salamanca Campaign, June and July 1812[[/note]] (1983)
* ''Sharpe's Skirmish'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Defence of the Tormes, August 1812[[/note]] (short story) (1999)
* ''Sharpe's Enemy'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Defence of Portugal, Christmas 1812[[/note]] (1984)
* ''Sharpe's Honour'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Vitoria Campaign, February to June 1813[[/note]] (1985)
* ''Sharpe's Regiment'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Invasion of France, June to November, 1813[[/note]] (1986)
* ''Sharpe's Christmas'' [[note]]December 1813, Franco-Spanish border[[/note]] (short story) (1994)
* ''Sharpe's Siege'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Winter Campaign, 1814[[/note]] (1987)
* ''Sharpe's Revenge'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Peace of 1814[[/note]] (1989)
* ''Sharpe's Waterloo'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Waterloo Campaign, 15 June to 18 June 1815[[/note]] (1990)
* ''Sharpe's Ransom'' [[note]]December 1815, Normandy[[/note]] (short story) (1994)
* ''Sharpe's Devil'' [[note]]Richard Sharpe and the Emperor, 1820–21[[/note]] (1992)
[[/folder]]

----
!!Tropes found in the '''Sharpe''' Series:

* AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder: Mary in ''Tiger''
* ActionGirl: Teresa is a famous partisan leader called La Aguja - The Needle. She unwinds by killing Frenchmen.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: In the novel ''Sharpe's Siege'', Sharpe and the Chosen Men engineer their way out of a fort surrounded by the French by surrendering it to an American privateer who was fighting the WarOf1812 - and trapped in the fort with them. This plot was discarded in the television episode in favor of Sharpe having to fight his way out. Again due to budgetary constraints.
* AntiHero: A variety of characters qualify as Anti-heroes.
** Sharpe comes in as a Type IV
** Harper and most of the chosen men are Type III-V.
** Wellington is a Type II, as is Lord Nelson.
** Calvet is a Type IV.
** Cochrane is a Type V, as is Lord Pumphrey.
** Theresa Moreno is a Type IV, whilst La Marquesa is a Type V.
* AffablyEvil: Lord Pumphrey is charming, witty, erudite, possibly in love with Sharpe and has no morals except government interests. His personality is so infectious that Sharpe, even after everything Pumps has done, can't bear to kill him (though Pumphrey was armed and too influential to just kill.)
* ArchEnemy:
** Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, the insane misanthrope and ManipulativeBastard who had Sharpe flogged while he was a private in India. [[spoiler:He eventually kills Sharpe's wife in ''Sharpe's Enemy'']] before being executed himself. Cornwell admitted that after Hakeswill's death he found it hard to supply Sharpe with an equally malevolent adversary. This is particularly glaring in ''Sharpe's Challenge'', which is actually an adaptation of prequel books in which Hakeswill is the main villain, but was re-set ''after'' the Peninsular War for the TV series, so Sharpe is given a Hakeswill {{expy}} villain who isn't particularly convincing.
** Major Pierre Ducos does a decent job of picking up the baton, repeatedly attempting to not only have Sharpe killed but have him die a dishonourable death in revenge for a relatively minor insult. [[spoiler:In the books, he shares Hakeswill's fate of being executed by his own side, although it's disappointingly glossed over as an [[OffScreenMomentOfAwesome Off-Page Moment of Awesome.]]]] Cornwell seems fond enough of the character to make him TheManBehindTheMan in stories written after but set before his and Sharpe's first meeting.
** The Duke of Wellington and his historic ArchEnemy, UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte.
* AristocratsAreEvil:
** With a few exceptions, most aristocrats encountered in the novels and TV series - whether British or otherwise - are vile types, enemies of Sharpe, and often also {{Upper Class Twit}}s. A good example is the villain in ''Sharpe's Eagle'', Henry Simmerson.
** One particularly crowning subversion is Sharpe's OddCouple friendship with the aristocratic William Lawford, which he explains to Leroy in ''Sharpe's Eagle'':
---> '''Sharpe''': We spent three months chained in a cell in India. He had a page of the Bible. In three months he taught me how to read and write. How can you pay back a man who teaches you how to write your own name, Captain?
** Double-subverted in ''Sharpe's Regiment'' when Sharpe goes to Lawford for help after corruption within the army affects their old Regiment, and Lawford tries to cover the scandal up because "gentlemen look out for themselves".
* ArmyOfThievesAndWhores: The Duke of Wellington famously considered his forces this in real life and so he does in the Sharpe novels. This attitude is also held by the officer class in general and to varying degrees by the public back in England as well.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Through out the novels Cornwell adjusts the actual events to fit his stories putting whatever units and/or Sharpe himself at key points of historical battles. He typically explains in the afterword the extent and nature of his artistic license in regard to the historical events.
* ArtisticLicenseReligion: In universe, this is Hakeswill's specialty. He uses the phrase "says so in the scriptures" as a sort of go-to argument to justify whatever he has to say or wants to do. Gloriously, Colonel [=McCandless=] calls him out on this in ''Sharpe's Triumph'':
-->'''Hakeswill''':...says so in the scriptures.
-->'''[=McCandless=]''': ''[shouting for the only time in the series]'' It says nothing of the sort, Sergeant! I've had occasion to speak to you before about the scriptures, and if I hear you cite their authority one more time I shall break you, Sergeant Hakeswill, I shall break you!
* AwesomeMcCoolname: In "Sharpe's Devil", Lord Cochrane complains that the Spanish don't know how to name their warships. "Warships ought to have names like ''Victory'', ''[[OddNameOut Arse-kicker]]'', or ''Revenge''.
* BadAss:
** Richard Sharpe himself. Sharpe defeats or outwits opponents known for their cunning and skill any number of times in the stories. He also survives some of the bloodiest battles and sieges of the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe is not the only Badass in the world though.
** Patrick Harper is Sharpe's [[TheLancer lancer]] and as bad a badass as ever stalked Spain. He often accompanies Sharpe into some of his deadliest conflicts save for a few.
** Teresa Moreno is not to be messed with. Hakeswill finds this out the hard way in ''Sharpe's Company''. She gains an infamous reputation among French who nick name her "La Aguja", which means the needle. For her penchant of dispatching the French with her dagger.
** General Jean-Baptiste Calvet is a FourStarBadass, whose various exploits include ripping his way out of Russia, serving as a kind of friendly enemy to Sharpe, eating his own corporal (they were running out of food) and impaling two Cossacks on his sword at the same time.
** [[ColonelBadass Chef de Bataillon]] Alexandre Dubreton has ''two'' Légions d'Honneur. He also proves his badassery when he actually manages to hold off Sharpe in a swordfight.
** Major Blas Vivar is definitely Spain's answer to the Badasses that fill the British and French armies.
** Major General David Baird, a RealLife character who was also a Badass, but especially in ''Sharpe's Tiger'', when he hacks through everyone in Seringapatam (again, he did this in real life).
** Wellington is another RealLife example: There's a ''reason'' he never lost a battle.
** Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, another RealLife example. His [[RefugeInAudacity plot to capture Valdivia]] in ''Sharpe's Devil'' has to be seen to be believed. It happened in real life too.
** William Fredrickson. Took a cannonball in the face, and kept going. Stacks pretty well against Sharpe in the badassery league.
** Colonel Leroux in Sharpe's Sword. His supremely-designed Kligenthal sword actually shatters Sharpe's original Heavy Cavalry blade, he knocks Harper down a flight of stairs and shoots Sharpe in the gut, bringing him closer to death than almost any other enemy.
* BadassBoast: General Calvet delivers one to Sharpe:
-->"I should have killed you at Toulouse," Sharpe said. \\
"So that was you?" Calvet laughed. "The Englishman who can kill me has not been born, Major, but I will shoot you down like a rabid dog if you don’t tell me where [[spoiler:Pierre Ducos]] is hiding."
* BadassCrew: The Chosen Men who follow Sharpe. They frequently outfight superior enemy numbers or prove pivotal in a variety of battles.
* BaldOfEvil: Obadiah Hakeswill who is described as having little or no hair on top of his head which only adds to his sinister appearance. He is described as ugly and vile in appearance part of which his baldness plays a part.
* BattleCouple: Sharpe and Teresa. Not only do they meet and initially fall for each other on a battle field hiding from Lancers fighting for the French, they work together on a few occasions to thwart the French's plans in Spain.
* BeastAndBeauty: Invoked by one snobby officer about Sharpe and Jane Gibbons, leading to a duel.
* BeenThereShapedHistory: Sharpe was involved in crucial moments in so many key historical events that - within his own fictional setting - if he'd never existed Britain would have probably lost the Napoleonic Wars.
* BerserkButton:
** Sharpe's mother was a prostitute, which makes her son [[FreudWasRight less than fond of pimps]]. Sharpe calling someone a pimp is not only an insult, its the worst insult he can think of.
** Likewise, Obadiah Hakeswill goes crazy when you insult ''his'' mother or like Sharpe thwart his schemes.
* {{BFG}}: Harper carries a Nock volley gun, a weapon that fires seven pistol bullets at once and was discontinued because the recoil had the tendency to smash the shoulders of anyone who tried to fire it. Harper is supposedly one of the few men who are big and powerful enough to use it, although Sharpe also uses one in a few of the prequel books because he's just that hard.
* {{BFS}}: Sharpe's 1796 pattern heavy cavalry sword. Not big by anime standards, but definitely heavier than almost anything anyone would try to fence with. Sharpe prefers the heft of the larger cavalry swords for their ability to power through enemy officers blocks and inflict tremendous wounds on his foes. ([[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1304958034706_3723.jpg Cornwell owns one himself]].)
* TheBigGuy: Harper. Though Sharpe himself is big enough to intimidate most people.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Molly Spindacre from ''Sharpe's Revenge'' and also Jane Gibbons herself once she realizes Sharpe isn't going to let her go on her way with all his money.
* BloodKnight: Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane wants to free Napoleon from Elba and create a "United States of South America" from Spanish and Portugese colonies. Why? He just really loves killing people. This is TruthInTelevision. The Siege of Sebastopol would have been much shorter had he been in charge. Why? His plan involved saturation bombardment and poison gas.
* BondVillainStupidity: Displayed both by Sharpe and his enemies. Pierre Ducos in particular just ''has'' to humiliate and utterly destroy Sharpe in all of his schemes, which hamstrings them because Sharpe always gets past them. Sharpe in India keeps trying to kill Hakeswill in elaborate ways involving animals, which never work, and he never sticks around to see the outcome: [[spoiler: The Tipoo Sultan's tigers don't eat Hakeswill because they've been fed. Hakeswill escapes being crushed by Dowlat Rao Scindia's elephant by jabbing it with a knife. It isn't explained how he escapes being killed by Manu Bapoo's snakes, but Sharpe should really have known by then.]]
* CallToAgriculture: Sharpe often talks about becoming a farmer after he is done with war and he ends up as an apple farmer in France at the end.
* CampGay: Lord Pumphrey, to what by the standards of the time is an outrageous degree. Still, he's (often) on Sharpe's side. To be more accurate, he is on the side of His Majesty's Government. As long as Sharpe is too, then Sharpe is safe.
* CanonImmigrant: The characters of Harris and Perkins were created for the film series, but proved popular enough to find their way into many of the later books.
* TheCaptain: Many, as well as another rank Sharpe holds as he climbs the ranks.
* CartwrightCurse: Sharpe gets a new girlfriend frequently. They always leave, either by running away with his money, dying, or otherwise being written out.
* CatchPhrase:
** Sharpe keeps drilling into his soldiers, almost to the point of being a BadassCreed, that the key to soldiering is being able to "fire three rounds a minute and "stand".
** Sharpe considers every "Proper Officer" a "Bastard!"
** Harper's favourite exclamation: "God save Ireland!"
** Hakeswill's "It says so in the scriptures", his justification for anything.
** Expert marksman Daniel Hagman shouts "Got 'im!" when he hits his target, and recommends "brown paper and paraffin oil" for any injury.
* CavalryOfficer: Several characters in the books are noted as leading cavalry unit in both friend and foe alike.
* CigarFuseLighting: Richard Sharpe borrows a cigar from another officer when he has no slow-match to light fuses with.
* ClearMyName: The novels (and TV adaptations) ''Sharpe's Honour'' and ''Sharpe's Revenge''. In both cases, Sharpe is framed by Major Ducos as part of a plan to derail Wellington's campaigns.
* CloakAndDagger:
** Major Duco is responsible for French intelligence and a notable opponent of Sharpe.
** The "El Mirador" network of spies.
* ClothesMakeTheLegend:
** Sharpe's green Rifleman jacket. All of Sharpe's friends know that if he dies, he's to be buried in it.
** In various novels the green rifle jacket marks one as a rifleman separate from the common infantry of the British Army. The French even give them a nickname partly because of the jackets.
* CombatPragmatist: Sharpe doesn't believe in fighting fair, so expect to see him use every dirty trick in the book in order to win. These include switching uniforms, ambushing enemy troops, frequent use of [[GroinAttack Groin Attacks]], luring enemies into positions where they can be shot by the French. One specific example: While fighting a superior swordsman with a rapier, he allows his opponent to stab him in the thigh, lodging the rapier in place due to the wound's suction. His opponent is thus (in an extremely unorthodox fashion) disarmed.
* CorruptChurch: If the Catholic Church shows up, it will either be in the form of a high-ranking prelate, who will be a scumbag, or an honest village priest, who will be a lovely person. Notably, the Inquisitor, Father Hacha, is a foul individual, as is the Cardinal of Naples, who seems to have read about Rodrigo Borgia and tried to imitate him as far as possible, only with more child abuse.
* CoolSword: Sharpe's 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword. It's a real weapon, but so massive that they're only used by men on horseback. Only those as big and strong as Sharpe are capable of wielding it like an infantry sword.
* CorporalPunishment: Flogging was common, Sharpe was on the receiving end of a particularly brutal one. In Sharpe's opinion, flogging only teaches a soldier one thing, "how to turn his back."
* CulturedBadass:
** Arguably, Sharpe himself. He goes from lowly rifleman to great war hero and ends up able to quote Voltaire to boot. Of course, it helps to have a girlfriend who can speak French.
** There is also Rifleman Harris, the only one crazy enough to lug around a small library in addition to his already sizeable kit, and reads Voltaire, Creator/WilliamWordsworth and dirty books by the Marquis de Sade.
* CulturedWarrior:
** Captain, later Major, Peter D'Alembord. He is an elegant and erudite, with exquisitely tailored uniforms and perfect, languid, manners. Also a first-class swordsman and excellent commander of light troops.
** Lord Pumphrey. He is described as being a very cultured man.
* CunningLinguist: Isaiah Tongue, one of Sharpe's Riflemen, was a former teacher and often served as a translator. Later Sharpe himself becomes fluent in Spanish and French, mostly by falling in love with women of the appropriate nationalities.
* DangerousDeserter: A few, notably Obidiah Hakeswill, not that he was exactly a bundle of laughs before he deserted.
* DeadpanSnarker: Wellington's spymasters have a tendency to be this.
* DeathByAdaptation:
** Subverted for Perkins in that he was created for the show and [[RetCanon introduced into the novels later]], and he survives the book version of the episode where he dies.
** Played straight with Harry Price. Maybe. He's apparently killed in the adaptation of ''Sharpe's Company'', but three years later a different actor plays "Harry Price" in the adaptation of ''Sharpe's Waterloo''. It's unclear whether he's meant to be TheOtherDarrin or a violation of the OneSteveLimit. In the books, they're the same character and he also appears in most of the intervening novels.
** Also played straight with Major Dunnett, Sally Clayton, Don Moreno, Father Hacha, Lieutenant Ayres, Guardsman O'Rourke and Colonel Ford. And ''Lucille'', who's mentioned as being dead in ''Sharpe's Challenge'' even though she's alive in novels set later and WordOfGod states she and Sharpe lived HappilyEverAfter, with her ultimately outliving him.
** Private Clayton is a type 2 example: He's killed in the adaptation of ''Sharpe's Company'' whereas in the books he survives until Waterloo.
* DeathByChildbirth: [[spoiler: Lady Grace and her child both die]]. This deeply affects Sharpe.
* DeathTrap: Mostly inverted, especially during the India trilogy. Its usually Sharpe who keeps throwing the baddies, especially Hakeswill, into a villain's recently abandoned death traps and then leaving him to die. Of course, Hakeswill always survives. In ''Sharpe's Tiger'', Sharpe throws Hakeswill into a pit of tigers. In ''Sharpe's Triumph'', he leaves Hakeswill under the foot of an elephant trained for executions. In ''Sharpe's Fortress'', Sharpe knocks Hakeswill into a pit of snakes. In ''Sharpe's Enemy'', he leaves him to get shot by a firing squad, and that finally sticks.
* DeepCoverAgent: El Mirador and the network of spies. They are ensconced through out Europe including occupied territories and even France itself.
* DeliberateInjuryGambit: The villain in the novel ''Sharpe's Gold'' is a far more skilled swordsman with a superior blade, so to defeat him Sharpe lets himself be stabbed in the leg and then kills his opponent while the guy is trying to pull his blade out.
* DirtyBusiness: [=McCandless=]'s opinion of his having tampered with a warrant
* DirtyOldMonk: Captain Ardiles notes in ''Sharpe's Devil'' that the best whorehouses in Chile are the ones the priests use.
* DisposableWoman: Mostly averted while Sharpe goes through numerous girlfriends and a few wives, most of them leave him for reasons of their own. When [[spoiler: Teresa]] and [[spoiler: Lady Grace]] die, he spends half the next book feeling deeply depressed as a result. And then there's his reaction to Astrid's death.
* DoWithHimAsYouWill: Dubreton hands Hakeswill over to Sharpe in ''Sharpe's Enemy''.
* DressCodedForYourConvenience: And TruthInTelevision to boot. Sharpe, the Chosen Men and any other Riflemen wear dark green, the rest of the British army wears red, the French wear blue and the Spanish wear a variety of browns.
* DroppedGlasses: In ''Sharpe's Enemy'', Sharpe throws Major Ducos' glasses on the ground and crushes them. BadAss, sure, but [[BullyingADragon earning the ire]] of a [[MagnificentBastard ruthless French spymaster]] winds up causing Sharpe havoc for years to come.
* DudeWheresMyRespect?: No matter how many times Sharpe saves Wellington's bacon or saves the army or defeats the bad guys or performs other heroic feats, the rich, gentlemanly officers think he's just an arrogant upstart who needs to be taught his place. This becomes a common them with Sharpe often clashing with the wealthy upper class of the officers, except his closest friends, most of whom are in even worse circumstances than his own, as is often the case with soldiers after the war is done.
* DuelToTheDeath: Sharpe duels in a couple of books, mostly against other Britons rather than the enemy. Cornwell successfully averts what the modern reader might expect. Sharpe, having risen from the ranks and being contemptuous of aristocratic twits, does ''not'' dismiss dueling as a silly affectation. Instead he takes it very seriously despite Wellington having banned the practice.
* UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington: The series' BigGood, although he has his share of bastard moments.
* DwindlingParty: When Sharpe first takes command of Riflemen in ''Sharpe's Rifles'', they've just been decimated after a battle and he's the only officer left. The number of original survivors besides Sharpe and Harper declines until years later at Waterloo, only Hagman is left[[spoiler:, and he dies too]].
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous:
** Sharpe and his [[TheSquad Chosen Men]] are members of the 95th Rifles, an elite unit using camouflage, skirmisher tactics and advanced (for the time) weaponry, hence, the closest thing to special forces in the Napoleonic Era. True to form, everyone seems completely incapable of getting anything done without them. Although 'glamourous' may not be exactly the word; none of them are exactly gentlemen.
** Various historical units like the Scottish Grenadiers are noted as elite troops. Same goes for several cavalry units. They are considered prestigious units to be a part of or to lead.
** In general, the British Army is noted to suffer from this in the public eye, as everyone admires the Navy over them,
* EnemyMine: ''Sharpe's Enemy'' has Sharpe sent to rescue a noblewoman from a horde of deserters, lead by Hakeswill, who are holding her hostage. It turns out they've also captured the wife of Colonel Dubreton, a Frenchman, so he and Sharpe have to work together.
* TheEngineer: Major Hogan's other hat is that of combat engineer. He is shown most often in the novels as performing various tasks as the engineer he is.
* EnsignNewbie: Much like FreshMeat below, the series has it's fair share. Some accept their lack of experience and defer to Sharpe and other more experienced officers, others are dyed in the wool [[UpperClassTwit Upper Class Twits]] usually with a healthy dose of snobbery.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Obadiah Hakeswill. Although it's more of an insane fixation. Sharpe, conversely, doesn't seem to care about who his mother was and she is never named.
* ExiledToTheCouch: Sharpe removes himself to the barn in ''Sharpe's Revenge'' to resist bedding Lucille while his wife's infidelity is still in doubt. This lasts until he finds Harper there, newly returned from London who confirms Jane has taken up with another man.
* ExtremeMeleeRevenge: ''Sharpe's Company'', when storming the breach Sharpe gets carried away and butchers a french soldier who was surrendering. He immediately realizes and regrets this.
* EyepatchOfPower: Frederickson has one. He takes it off when going into battle, though.
* FakeAmerican: In-universe example, as Sharpe always pretends to be American to avoid anti-British prejudice when encountered alone by potential enemies. At this point in history American and British accents were similar enough for this to plausible thanks to the American Revolution having been fairly recent history.
* FakeDefector: In the novel ''Sharpe's Tiger'', Sharpe and Lt. Lawford infiltrate the fortress of Serignapatham to rescue an intelligence officer and scout for a British assault.
* FamedInStory: Sharpe and to a lesser extent Harper, are renowned throughout the army and even back home in England for their bravery and feats on the battlefield. The South Essex recruiting Sergeants brag about how the pair are part of the Regiment, and Sharpe is well-received in the court of the Prince Regent.
* FatalFlaw: Sharpe's is beautiful women. He's never quite sure how to act around them. Granted, the fact that he usually ends up in bed with them is a point in his favour, but Sharpe also has a habit of believing ''anything'' a beautiful woman tells him.
* FeedTheMole: ''Sharpe's Sword''. It's Sharpe feeding information to [[spoiler:la Marquesa]] that allows UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington to win the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Salamanca Battle of Salamanca]].
* FieldPromotion: How Sharpe is risen up from the ranks to the officer's mess in the first place. He saved Wellington from enemy soldiers after Wellington was unhorsed in India.
* FireForgedFriends:
** Sharpe and Lawford, not from fighting but from a common captivity. Lawford even taught Sharpe to read and write.
** Sharpe and Patrick Harper. Especially after Sharpe wins the respect of Harper and the men.
* FourthDateMarriage: Frederickson suggests marriage to Lucille the day he meets her. Immediately after she has accidentally [[spoiler: shot Sharpe.]] Of course, she [[spoiler: prefers the charms of Sharpe, just like every woman in the Sharpeverse.]]
* FriendlySniper: Daniel Hagman. He often acts as TheObiWan for the younger members of the Chosen Men. Hagman is a cheerful [[OopNorth Northerner]] who loves folk songs, and is easily the best shot in the regiment.
* TheGeneralsDaughter: Sharpe ends up marrying Jane Gibbons, the niece of Henry Simmerson, one of the worst of the [[AristocratsAreEvil snobby aristocrats]] he has to deal with. While Simmerson doesn't have a great deal of power over impeding Sharpe's ascent through the ranks, he sure as hell isn't happy about the turn of events.
* GeniusBruiser:
** Captain Frederickson is a tough war leader and fearsome fighter and marksman, with a deliberately horrifying appearance to scare the enemy. He is also well-versed in such diverse fields as law, architecture and poetry, speaks three languages fluently, and spends his spare time making pencil sketches of Spanish Architecture and discussing politics with Americans.
** Sharpe himself is borderline illiterate and ignorant but he is certainly ''not'' stupid. He pulls off some surprisingly complex gambits throughout the series, although he prefers to simply walk into his enemies' traps and then hack his way out of them.
* GoodScarsEvilScars:
** Sharpe has a facial scar taken in one of his first swordfights which, pretty much every single book tells us, gives him a mocking, sardonic, look. Obadiah Hakeswill, on the other hand, has a scar round his neck which only adds to his freakish and sinister appearance.
** Firmly averted, on the other hand, by William Frederickson, whose facial injuries make him truly hideous but is one of Sharpe's staunchest allies at least until they find themselves competing for the same woman.
* GroinAttack: It's a favourite. Sharpe ends one fight with a GiantMook by ''stabbing him in the balls''.
-->"Tell this eunuch he got his wish. He wanted an Englishman. He got one."
* GuileHero: Harper proves himself one in ''Sharpe's Gold''. [[spoiler:He waits while Sharpe digs up a grave where they suspected the gold to be buried to see what El Catolico does when he comes to investigate the noise Sharpe makes. El Catolico pokes a pile of manure with his sword, so Harper knows where the gold ''really'' is buried.]]
* HannibalLecture: Many, many villains give this, usually in the form of a threat or boastful speech. It never takes.
* HeKnowsTooMuch:
** ''Sharpe's Peril''. Sharpe and a RagtagBunchOfMisfits are hunted across India after learning that a rogue cavalry squadron is running a secret drug trade using opium stolen from the East India Company.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Sharpe and Harper. They become life long friends and the two are rarely separated after they become friends.
* HighlyConspicuousUniform:
** The standard British infantries' red jacket or coat.
** Various Spanish units in the series are noted as being overly gaudy and pretty and tend to stand out sharply.
* HollywoodTactics: Usually for reasons of drama and of giving Sharpe a chance of survival, French infantry tactics are [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] to the point of being suicidal. Case in point their oft-used "column" attacks, which are presented in the series as a human battering ram that attempts to physically push its way through British lines and are usually shot to pieces; the French evidently forget that the big pointy spears they hold also shoot bullets. In RealLife, "column" was just the preferred French infantry formation when ''on the march.'' When in musket-range of the enemy, French troops would deploy in line like everyone else.
** At the end of each book, the author mentions the RealLife casualty figures of the book's big battle from both sides. These losses (except for prisoners) are nearly always about even between the French and the Allies. People reading the book could be forgiven for wondering where all the British casualties came from.
* HumanSacrifice: Tippo Sultan practices it in ''Tiger''. He has prisoners executed by Jetti's in a sort of pseudo religious practice.
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: Colonel Girdwood does this to Harper in ''Sharpe's Regiment'', luckily Sharpe helps Harper escape.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Each book is named "Sharpe's ______". Also, all the books have more historically descriptive subtitles, e.g. "Sharpe's Company" is subtitled "Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Badajoz, 1812".
* IGaveMyWord: Lawford has to admit the truth when asked on his word of honor.
* InfantImmortality: Inverted, at least for older children. If a child officer shows up, you can bet he'll almost certainly die heartbreakingly right in front of Sharpe's eyes.
* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Sharpe does it to a mutineer in ''Sharpe's Gold''
* InspiredBy: The character of Rifleman Harris is named after a real individual, Private Benjamin Harris of the 95th Rifles who fought in the Peninsular War and, upon returning home, dictated an account of his experiences to an acquaintance. Eventually published as "The Recollections of Rifleman Harris", it's one of the few accounts of life in the British Army as an enlisted soldier and was one of Bernard Cornwell's main sources when he researched and wrote the Sharpe novels.
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: To Gudin, after they are found out, in ''Tiger''
* ItsPersonal:
** After Major Ducos gets a bloody nose (so to speak) from Sharpe early on in the series, every one of his "destabilise and destroy Wellington's army" schemes simply ''must'' involve the humiliation and total annihilation of Richard Sharpe.
** Sharpe and Hakeswill have this for each other mutually. Sharpe would love nothing more then to be able to kill and/or humiliate Hakeswill and Hakeswill feels the same about Sharpe.
* KarmaHoudini:
** Hakeswill, for about four books of near-continuous evil.
** To a lesser extent, Sharpe himself. He's a thief and a murderer although his victims are all bad people.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Each novel has this, not to mention the staggering amount of characters who recur from one novel to the next. There are many characters in total by the time of the last book.
* MilitaryMaverick: Sharpe is described by Cornwell himself as being a loose cannon, and his proud, vengeful nature often gets him in trouble with his superiors and the upper-classes. Fortunately, there's usually a big battle around where he can redeem his honour or settle a score.
* MajorlyAwesome: Sharpe himself who climbs up to and beyond this rank. Being a work of military historical fiction he is not the only one present through out the series of novels.
* KingIncognito: In ''Sharpe's Regiment'', Sharpe and Harper take on fake identities and enlist as recruits in order to find out what happened to the South Essex Regiment's 2nd Battalion, which doesn't seem to exist yet still draws pay and rations. It works as this trope because the recruiters, Sergeants and officers frequently bring up [[FamedInStory the great Major Richard Sharpe and his faithful lancer, Regimental Sergeant Major Patrick Harper]], as examples of sheer balls-to-the-wall heroism and how far enlisted men can go in the South Essex. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny There's a great scene]] where the recruiting Sergeant goes on at length about how he taught Sharpe and Harper everything they know and now they're [=BFFs=], completely unaware that he's talking ''to'' Sharpe and Harper.
* TheManTheyCouldntHang: Sergeant Hakeswill, who is convinced he can't die because he survived being hanged as a child, and indeed does manage to escape several apparently fatal events. These include being thrown into a cage full of tigers, placed under the foot of an elephant, and tossed into a snake pit. As it turns out, however, he's not ImmuneToBullets.
* MercyKill: At the siege of Badajoz in ''Sharpe's Company'', after the first assault has been repelled, Sharpe sees some poor nameless redcoat staggering about with a bloody ruin where his arm used to be. He shoots him dead on the spot.
* TheMusketeer: Sharpe carries a Baker rifle (i.e. an extremely accurate long gun) and a [[{{BFS}} 1796 pattern Cavalry sword]], a reminder of both his origin and his newfound status. And he is good with both, though a lot better with the gun.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: A lot of the French villains and Spanish partisans, e.g. Brigadier Loup ("The Wolf"), [[LaResistance La Aguja]] ("The Needle"), [[GroinAttack El Castrador]] ("The Castrator").
* UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte: The BigBad from the perspective of many in the books as his army is invading their assorted home nations and wreaking havoc across the land. Sharpe eventually meets him in exile on St Helena in ''Sharpe's Devil'', but despite having fought his armies for years, Sharpe takes quite a liking to l'Empereur. Lord Cochrane plans to bust him out of the island and set him up as Emperor of a "United States of South America", but Napoleon died before they could try.
* NewMeat: Throughout the series there are plenty of green recruits and untested regiments that Sharpe has to whip into shape.
* NormallyIWouldBeDeadNow: In an age where a flesh wound of just about any kind would have a roughly fifty-fifty chance of killing a man, Sharpe survives multiple life-threatening injuries without so much as a brush with gangrene.
* NotSoDifferent: Sharpe and General Calvet. Both men from humble origins who owe their positions and success to the men in charge of their respective armies, and who care deeply for their men.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: [=McCandless=] plays this, after tampering with a warrant.
* OfficerAndAGentleman:
** Sharpe may be an officer, but he's not a gentleman.
--> '''Lt Col Lawford''': Lieutenant Slingsby, tells me that you insulted him. That you invited him to a duel. That you called him illegitimate. That you swore at him.
--> '''Capt Sharpe''': I doubt I called him illegitimate, sir, I wouldn't use that sort of language. I probably called him [[ExactWords a bastard]].
** Played with for varying officer characters in the books. Some are genuine gentlemen while others are just pretending to keep up appearances. Both are frequent themes and depending on which one the officer comes across as often decides on whether or not Sharpe will like them.
* OhCrap:
** So many throughout the series. Usually from Sharpe's enemies, as their plans crumble into nothingness around them. Special mention to Andre Massena, who is rendered almost catatonic when he sees the Lines of Torres Vedras.
** Sgt. Lynch's when he realises that the Irish recruit he's been bullying for the past weeks is a Rifleman Sergeant-Major who outranks him.
* TheOnlyOne: No matter how large the armies or how complicated the situations, it inevitably falls to Sharpe, the Chosen Men and/or the South Essex Light Company to save the day and defeat the bad guys.
-->'''Harper''': You and me, we're going to stop a rebellion? Just the two of us?\\
'''Sharpe''': I don't see no bugger else.
* OpportunisticBastard: Obadiah Hakeswill, Richard Shape's ArchEnemy, is a toadying sadist of a British drill sergeant with his only goals being his own profit and enjoyment. Hakeswill relishes bullying the men in his command, but throughout the India Trilogy, he is quick to desert the British whenever he thinks he has a better shot with the local rulers. He deserts and betrays the British no less than three separate times there and murders the colonel who could have exposed him. In the Napoleonic Wars in Spain, Hakeswill returns and continues attempting to weasel his way up in rank before he takes a chance to desert the British and captains a group of Bandits where he opts to RapePillageAndBurn for [[ForTheEvulz for fun]] with no greater goal in mind.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits:
** The ''entire damn army''. According to Wellington and Hogan, all the enlisted men in the British army are either gutter bastards, drunks, thieves, rapists or murderers and at least three of those describe Sharpe himself.
** TruthInTelevision, witness Wellington's famous quote "I don't know what effect they will have on the enemy, but by God they frighten me".
** And even more appropriately, "Our army is the scum of the earth, the merest scum of the earth...but by God, what have we made of them!"
** The column of soldiers in ''Sharpe's Peril'' comprise of East India Company troops on maneouvres, an incredibly lazy unit of the King's soldiers transporting a prisoner under the command of a pre-pubsescant officer, an engineer and his mate, a pregnant woman, an Indian noble and a priest.
** The villains of ''Sharpe's Enemy'' are the evil version of this trope, a group of deserters from the English, French, Spanish and Portugese armies who've organised into an army of their own.
* RapePillageAndBurn:
** The French Dragoons in ''Sharpe's Rifles'' freely go about brutalising and massacring the Spanish peasantry. Their commander is happy to let them do this. In fact, this seems to be the French Army's ''modus operandi'' during their campaigns in Spain and Portugal.
** The British do it as well at the Battle of Badajoz, which again was the standard procedure when an army captured a city. The stupid soldiers found women and drink, the clever ones found the nearest goldsmith and nicked the strongbox. The inhabitants barricaded themselves in rooms and stayed there until it died down.
* RebelLeader:
** Teresa Moreno: She leads a band of Guerilla fighters against the French.
** Marechal Pot-au-Feu (Marshall Stock-Pot): Leads the army of multi-nation deserters.
** El Castrador: Another Guerilla leader that Sharpe has some dealings with.
* RedShirtArmy: Many of the common soldiery is perfectly expendable in the novels.
* RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun: For Sharpe it is remember When You Captured That Eagle At Talavera? Sharpe's [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome crowning moments of awesome]] are acknowledged in-canon. The best example is Sharpe's capture of an Imperial Eagle at the Battle of Talavera (''Sharpe's Eagle''), which made him famous throughout the army and back in England for its sheer difficulty and peril. At least once in all the following novels, a character will say something along the lines of "Hey, you're Sharpe, the guy who captured the Eagle at Talavera!"
* RetCanon:
** Sharpe was originally a Londoner, but since Sean Bean had a Yorkshire accent Cornwell wrote in later novels that Sharpe moved to Yorkshire before being recruited. Sharpe's characterization in the later novels is tweaked to be more like Sean Bean's Sharpe.
** The episode of ''Sharpe's Rifles'' reduced Sharpe's Rifles to a handful instead of around fifty, setting the tone for the series' stronger [[TheSquad Squad]] feel (except for the episode of ''Sharpe's Gold'', which followed the novels in having a lot more Riflemen but then caused a ContinuitySnarl). The novels written during and after the TV series tend to isolate Sharpe, Harper and the TV Chosen Men (Hagman, Harris, etc.) from the army on their own adventures, eventually reuniting with the army for the FinalBattle.
** The show itself is responsible for Harris and Perkins entering the novels.
* RetIrony: Subverted by d'Alembord, who is due to retire and get married but stays on for one last battle. That last happens to be Waterloo and he is convinced he is going to die. [[spoiler:He loses a leg, but survives.]]
* RousingSpeech: Sharpe gives one to nervous regulars a few times, most notably in ''Sharpe's Eagle'':
--> '''Sharpe:''' You don't see a battle. You ''hear'' it. Black powder blasting by the ton on all sides. Black smoke blinding you and choking you and making you vomit. Then the French come out of the smoke - not in a line, but in a column. And they march towards our thin line, kettledrums hammering like hell and a golden eagle blazing overhead. They march slowly, and it takes them a long time to reach you, and you can't see them in smoke. But you can hear the drums. They march out of the smoke, and you fire a volley. And the front rank of the column falls, and the next rank steps over them, with drums hammering, and the column smashes your line like a hammer breaking glass... and Napoleon has won another battle. But if you don't run, if you stand until you can smell the garlic, and fire volley after volley, three rounds a minute, then they slow down. They stop. And then they run away. All you've got to do is stand, and fire three rounds a minute. Now, you and I know you can fire three rounds a minute. ''But can you stand?''
* RunningGag: Young and promising officers who gain Sharpe's grudging respect tend to die.
* SacredHospitality: [=McCandless=] charges Pohlmann with this after his horses are stolen. The mere fact that they are enemies doesn't prevent Pohlmann from regarding this as just.
* SergeantRock: Patrick Harper pretty much occupies this position
* SelfMadeMan: Sir William In ''Sharpe's Justice'' and, to a lesser extent, Sharpe himself.
* ShootYourMate:
** In ''Sharpe's Tiger'', then-Sergeant Sharpe and Lt. Lawford are sent to [[FakeDefectors infiltrate]] Serignapatham and rescue Colonel [=McCandless=], an intelligence agent. To prove his loyalty to Tippo Sultan, Sharpe is given a loaded musket and told to kill [=McCandless=]. Naturally, the musket doesn't fire properly. Sharpe later tells Lawford that he knew the gunpowder used to prime the musket was bad, but its left ambiguous whether Sharpe knew about the bad powder before or after he fired the weapon.
** Subverted later in the same novel when British scouts are seen outside the fortress walls, Sharpe and Lawford are given rifles and told to shoot the scouts. Sharpe tries in earnest to kill one of the scouts but his shot goes wide; Lawford tries to shoot wide of his target but ends up killing the soldier by mistake.
** Played extremely straight in ''Sharpe's Challenge'', when Sharpe and Harper are the FakeDefectors. Sharpe is ordered to kill Harper using a musket he just loaded, but at the last moment he realises that the powder is bad and the shot won't fire, so he goes along with it.
* ShoutOut: A good many:
** Cornwell ties in his novel ''Sharpe's Escape'' into [[HoratioHornblower C.S. Forester's]] 1932 novel ''Death To The French'' by implying that Forester's protagonist, Rifleman Matthew Dodd, was part of Sharpe's Light Company during the Battle of Bussaco (Cornwell later [[WordOfGod confirmed]] that the Dodd in his novel is supposed to be the Dodd from Forester's). ''Death To The French'', which follows the wartime adventures of a British rifleman who is separated from his Regiment during that battle, was likely one of the inspirations for the Sharpe novels.
** In the book ''Sharpe's Tiger'', the Moonstone from Wilkie Collins' [[Literature/TheMoonstone novel of the same name]] makes a brief cameo appearance. [[spoiler: Sharpe steals it.]]
** Rifleman Benjamin Harris was named after a soldier in the RealLife 95th Rifles, who dictated (he was illiterate) a story of his memories from the Peninsular Campaign, and whose book served as an inspiration for the Sharpe series.
* ShotInTheAss: How Sharpe decides to end a duel in ''Sharpe's Revenge''... Pity the guy he shot ended up presiding over a hearing for a crime Sharpe was alledged to have commited.
* ShutUpHannibal:
** Wellesley's aforementioned chewing out of Henry Simmerson is the best example.
** Sharpe delivers a truly memorable example when he interrupts someone's Hannibal Lecture by kicking them down a well.
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan
* SmugSnake:
** Most of the villains in the Sharpe-verse are ''aware'' of the MagnificentBastard trope, but just can't quite make it there, ending up as this instead:
** Sir Henry Simmerson ''thinks'' he can use his wealth (he ''privately raised a regiment'') to wage a successful campaign in Spain and gather fame and power in Parliament. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the first thing about war and is a ''very'' DirtyCoward. Also has elements of the KnowNothingKnowItAll.
** Lt. Colonel Christoper in ''Sharpe's Havoc'' comes up with a truly brilliant XanatosGambit, which either makes him the richest man in Europe or a British war hero. Unfortunately, he is too arrogant, sadistic, and incompetent to adapt his plan when Sharpe starts taking third options all over the place.
** Manuel Batista is a sadistic profiteer too busy trying to make a pile of money off of his governorship of Chile to do anything about the fact that Spanish rule in South America is collapsing around him.
** Pierre Ducos comes very close to being a Magnificent Bastard, but his arrogant dismissal of soldiers as "unthinking brutes" and hopeless cowardice, plus his wimpy failure to fight ,in contrast to his British counterpart Lord Pumphrey, who is at least prepared to personally kill people. This makes him a SmugSnake who the audience is just waiting to be killed.
** Obadiah Hakeswill is possibly one of these, given his overconfidence and [[spoiler: mistaken]] belief that he can't be killed.
** Lord William Hale suffers from the same utter failures of manliness and morality that plague Ducos. He is possibly the most pathetic example on this list, being cuckolded by Sharpe, drugged by his wife to facilitate said cuckolding, mocked behind his back by everyone and [[StealthInsult belittled to his face by Sharpe]]. and [[spoiler: is ultimately shot in the face by his wife when he confronts and tries to murder her over her infidelity.]] What places him squarely in this trope is that the audience does not feel one jot or iota of sympathy for him, even pre-[[spoiler: murder attempt]].
** Cpt. John Lavisser so desperately wants to be a MagnificentBastard [[invoked]], even lampshading this in a speech. He really isn't, his only significant achievements being [[spoiler: torturing a defenceless old man and threatening his daughter with same. This gets him nastily killed.]]
* TheSmartGuy: Harris. He is an excellent source of needed, as well as completely unsolicited, information, speaks French and Portugese and the go-to guy for anything that requires two brain-cells to rub together.
** Isaiah Tongue, a former schoolteacher, serves as the team's smart guy before Harris makes his canon immigration.
* SociopathicSoldier: Obidiah Hakeswill, although admittedly he has managed to climb the ranks a bit. He delights in torturing other soldiers and using dirty tricks to help fuel his personal debauchery. He is so inherently vile and nasty that even officers are afraid of him. The only reason he is kept around is proves himself useful in propping up inept or corrupt officers and keeps the ire of the men suppressed by fear and bullying.
* SpinOffspring[=/=]BabiesEverAfter: Sharpe and Lucille's son, Patrick Lassan, is a minor character in ''The Starbuck Chronicles'', another series by Cornwell set during the AmericanCivilWar. In that series, Patrick is a Chasseur Colonel of the French Imperial Guard and a French Military Observer attached to the Union Army. He carries and uses Sharpe's old sword, though his father was apparently disappointed that his son joined the French cavalry rather than the British infantry. By 1862, when the novel was set, Sharpe had died and Lucille was still alive. Patrick's sister Dominique is mentioned as the Countess of Benfleet and the mother of five children.
* SpotOfTea: This being the British Army, tea is never far away. At one point, when Harper is absent, Sharpe complains about the other Chosen Men's inability to make a decent cup of tea.
* TheStarscream:
** Ducos turns out to be this to the French Empire, stealing part of the Imperial treasure then running away.
** Other examples include incompetent and scheming officers who try to take Wellington down.
** Sharpe is generally this to any useless superiors, and even tries to murder the very useless Prince of Orange at Waterloo.
* TheSpymaster:
** Major Hogan. While in the guise of an engineer he frequently engages in cloak and dagger actions. He gathers intelligence while surveying roads and bridges both the enemy and Wellington may use and often advises Wellington based on this info.
** "El Mirador", in ''Sharpe's Sword''. Not just a spy master but also a network of contacts and informants including ones placed at various levels in the French Empire.
* TheSquad: Sharpe and the Chosen Men. Sharpe leads a band of rifleman throughout the Napoelonic Wars. There are several key characters and plenty of RedShirt and MauveShirt characters to flesh out the squad.
* StillWearingTheOldColors: In ''Sharpe's Waterloo'', Sharpe wears his usual uniform despite being repeatedly ordered to change into a newer one.
* StormingTheCastle: Literally, and regularly. There are several instances where a fortress has to be taken. Sharpe will frequently find himself taking part in some hard or famous sieges. Like the Siege of Seringaptam in India or the Siege of Badajoz in Spain. Sieges of varying scale and intensity occur through out the books.
* SuicideAttack:
** See SuicideMission below for the Forlorn Hope. Attacks on breaches were often considered an act of suicide as the first troops tripped the enemy traps, ambushes, and were the first targets of readied enemy cannon and troops.
** Infantry in column against a line, and loose formations or one-on-one against cavalry was often akin to committing suicide.
** Cavalry attacking a prepared infantry square was often detrimental to the cavalry unless they found a breach to exploit.
** Directly attacking artillery loaded with double loads of canister or grape shot would result in a large number of casualties and attempts were usually made to avoid that scenario.
* SuicideMission: The Forlorn Hope, derived from Dutch ''verloren hoep'' or "lost troop", who are the first men to charge through a breach opened in an enemy fortress' walls--nine times out of ten they naturally catch the brunt of the enemy defence and get killed, but if they survive, they get instant promotions. Sharpe ends up leading one in order to confirm his promotion to captain.
* TacticalWithdrawal: Most of the novel ''Sharpe's Escape'' follows Wellington's retreat through Portugal to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lines_of_Torres_Vedras Lines of Torres Vedras]].
* TakeThat: In ''Sharpe's Eagle'', Lieutenants Berry and Gibbons are named after the author's first wife's divorce attorneys.
* TakingTheVeil: La Marquesa in ''Sharpe's Honour''. By no means voluntary on her part.
* TallPoppySyndrome: How ''dare'' this jumped-up sergeant go around leading troops. How ''dare'' he be good at it.
** Sharpe or even anyone of lesser status gaining fame, glory, riches, and increased status over their titled peers often gets this sort of reaction.
** Wellington himself is targeted to varying degrees by his rivals in the novels in similar fashion. Wellington is considered an upstart by many of the peerage and has to frequently contend with their backbiting and politicking to try and blunt his successes.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: In ''Sharpe's Siege'', Frederickson orders one of his riflemen to stop the French raising the alarm during a night-time raid. So he cuts their heads off.
-->'''Marcos''': Si senor - [[LiteralMinded now they cannot give alarm.]]
* TitleDrop:
** Most of the books have a final sentence that concludes with the title words.
** An Aversion is ''Sharpe's Waterloo'', which concludes "and the world was at peace".
* TooDumbToLive: Many of the [[UpperClassTwit officers]] that Sharpe encounters or any number of foes who decide he is not any real danger to them.
* TookALevelInBadass: New officers serving under Sharpe tend to gain a lot of experience and become good officers or die, in very short order. Of particular note is Jorge Vincente, first encountered as a young Portuguese student-turned-soldier with no real military experience, cut off from his army alongside Sharpe. By the next book he appears in he's basically become a Portuguese Sharpe right down to carrying the same weapons as him to emulate what he believes makes Sharpe successful.
* TheToothHurts: Poor Harper has a horrible toothache in ''Sharpe's Siege''.
* UnfriendlyFire:
** So many examples that you might start to wonder whether there was anyone left for the French to kill.
** Gibbons and Berry are both killed by Harper and Sharpe respectively.
** Hakeswill has no trouble killing soldiers on his side if it is in pursuit of his own goals or to pay someone back for a perceived slight.
* UnstoppableRage:
** This is noted as being common for the soldiers who have suffered a hard siege in taking a fortress to turn and vent their frustration on those who remain inside. The most notable in the books and TruthInTelevision is the Siege of Badajoz in Spain.
** When the close-quarters fighting starts, with swords and bayonets and improvised weapons, '''everyone''' gets this, from the gentleman officers to the lowliest privates.
* UpThroughTheRanks: Sharpe was a sergeant until he saved Wellington's life, and was rewarded with a field commission. Richard Sharpe is a commoner and is a lot more coarse than the otherwise mostly aristocratic officer corps, but he makes up for it with sheer skill.
* UpperClassTwit: Most of the officers. The Prince Regent, an example of [[TruthinTelevision Truth in Televsion]].
* VillainousBreakdown: Many.
** Marshal Massena goes through a very pronounced one after seeing the Lines, and realizing just how screwed his army is.
** John Lavisser is transformed from a SmugSnake to a weeping coward after Sharpe frees his hostage, steals his list of British informants and kills his men. His begging does not help.
** Pierre Ducos goes through a long one, Sharpe now inhabiting his very nightmares.
** Lord Fenner, when his former sex slave turns up with the evidence to ruin him, has a surprisingly brief one.
** Colonel Girdwood has one on his first taste of battle.
*** And another one whenever a dog approaches.
*** And another whenever he is reminded of anything Irish.
** Simmerson has ''many'' but his notable is after Wellington tells him off after he finds he caused the Kings Colours to be lost.
** Hakeswill's final raging denial: "You can't kill ME!".
* VillainousValor: Notably, Calvet, Loup, the Comte de Moromuorto and De L'Eclin are not afraid of Sharpe and are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with him. The Tipoo Sultan is the ultimate example, being one of the few men who Sharpe truly respects.
* WeaponOfChoice: Sharpe's Baker rifle and [[CoolSword heavy cavalry sabre]]. At the time, infantry soldiers fought with muskets or rifles and bayonets. The officers used pistols and sabres. Not only do the rifle and sword make an effective combo, but they aptly represent where Sharpe has come from and what he is now.
** Harper's [[{{BFG}} Nock gun]].
* WeHaveReserves: Several of the officers and commanders take this attitude in the books. Sharpe however makes it his mission to convince the troops that they are more than that. Sharpe will often get angry at pointless loss of life or loss of troops. Often this brings him into some kind of conflict with said leaders.
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: The sentiment many have in regards to Sharpe when some wealthy or privileged lady takes an interest in him.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: If Sharpe had just told Teresa to kill Hakeswill when she had a knife at his throat, there wouldn't have been any problem. They spend that entire series knowing that he's trouble and reacting to all the underhanded things he does and they never just kill him. This is likely, aside from narrative purposes, to be because it is made clear that Hakeswill is an absolute master at brown-nosing the officer class and is thought of as a superb Sergeant by them for that very reason.
* WorthyOpponent: Sharpe regards Napoleon as one in the books. They seem to get on pretty well when they meet in ''Sharpe's Devil''.
* WhatTheHellHero: Sharpe, being born in a London slum in the 1770s, does things that his contemporaries would either find unexceptional and that they would find as shocking as modern readers do. Examples would be cuckolding husbands and the revenge murders of Berry and Gibbons.
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen:
** Whenever Sharpe has to get somewhere by ship in the books, particularly in ''Sharpe's Trafalgar'' and ''Sharpe's Devil''.
** Sharpe finds himself at the heart of the battle of Trafalgar onboard a British Warship.
* WorthyOpponent: Quite a few of the books will have an honourable French sergeant or something, but particular mention goes to the deeply-likeable General Calvet.
* WreckedWeapon: ''Sharpe's Sword''. Sharpe's sword breaks and Sergeant Harper sets out to find a new one for him while Sharpe is recovering from a near lethal injury and subsequent infection.
----

''[[LordOfTheRings Boromir]] [[Website/YouTube would have fared better if he could fire three rounds per minute in any weather!]]''