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Prequel Problems: Sharpe’s Reading Order

Skinny87

erotic manga of Link violently shagging an octorok
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I'm currently caught in the middle of reading the Sharpe series and utterly enjoying it. But I've hit my first snag. I've been reading them in chronological order. I didn't read Tiger (#1) ... but read from Triumph (#2) through Havoc (#7).

I just started Eagle (#8) and this is where a few of the issues begin.

1) We meet Sharpe in Eagle as Harper removes the bandage from his leg. The cut was a result of a deep cut in a battle during the winter. But Havoc was fought in the Spring, and there was no mention of a cut in the winter.

2) Havoc talks heavily of his use a cavalry sabre, but in Eagle, his preferred mode is a straight sword.

3) In Havoc, the company's uniforms and boots were repaired by a grateful Portuguese cobbler ... yet two months later in Eagle, their uniforms resemble those of beggars.

4) No mention of Grace in Eagle.

Ok, I have to stop the griping, as the stories are excellent. I've been eating them for lunch and finishing each book in about 2 days time. But it's these little things which sort of get under my skin. It feels a bit Star Warish ... with some plot holes.

I'm just hoping future books won't suffer from the prequel/interval issues. I'd love a straight read with no holes. But ... we'll see.
Well, the good news is that you're almost there in terms of plot and continuity - I think you've now read all of the latter-published novels and are now into the earlier, 'classic' titles!

Although honestly if you pick one up and it was published after the turn of the century, just discard it and carry on
 

Thande

Jabs First Brexit
Published by SLP
I'm currently caught in the middle of reading the Sharpe series and utterly enjoying it. But I've hit my first snag. I've been reading them in chronological order. I didn't read Tiger (#1) ... but read from Triumph (#2) through Havoc (#7).

I just started Eagle (#8) and this is where a few of the issues begin.

1) We meet Sharpe in Eagle as Harper removes the bandage from his leg. The cut was a result of a deep cut in a battle during the winter. But Havoc was fought in the Spring, and there was no mention of a cut in the winter.

2) Havoc talks heavily of his use a cavalry sabre, but in Eagle, his preferred mode is a straight sword.

3) In Havoc, the company's uniforms and boots were repaired by a grateful Portuguese cobbler ... yet two months later in Eagle, their uniforms resemble those of beggars.

4) No mention of Grace in Eagle.

Ok, I have to stop the griping, as the stories are excellent. I've been eating them for lunch and finishing each book in about 2 days time. But it's these little things which sort of get under my skin. It feels a bit Star Warish ... with some plot holes.

I'm just hoping future books won't suffer from the prequel/interval issues. I'd love a straight read with no holes. But ... we'll see.
For some reason I thought Havoc was set later than that, but the points you raise doesn't surprise me.

See if you agree with me about Eagle, that (though Cornwell says he can't bear to look it again as a first novel, which I understand) it reads much more compellingly than the later-written interquels.

One thing I will say, which surprised me when I re-read the beginning of Eagle to write this article, is how many specifics about Sharpe's service in India are dropped in the opening paragraphs and would be followed up on in the India prequels.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I found a bunch of Sharpe's in a charity shop today (one of those "I hope a guy just got tired of his collection" bunches) and had to resort to wikipedia to figure out which to buy to read the actual first one, because the book cover sure didn't help
 

Thande

Jabs First Brexit
Published by SLP
I found a bunch of Sharpe's in a charity shop today (one of those "I hope a guy just got tired of his collection" bunches) and had to resort to wikipedia to figure out which to buy to read the actual first one, because the book cover sure didn't help
I went back to a different book series yesterday for a future article (won't say which one yet) and saw that the author had actually listed a reading order in which some of the prequels are meant to be inserted earlier into the reading order, while others should be read in chronological publication order.

I still feel like anything other than strictly the latter is going to be disappointing to the reader, but at least the author made an effort.
 

Ncw8

I’m Aluminium, but you can call me Al
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I think the Star Wars Machete order is at least well argued as a specific example, but otherwise publication order certainly fits better.
At the time it was devised, yes. Given the original trilogy and the prequels, the idea was to come up with a viewing order that:
  • Didn’t end on the low point of the Empire’s victory at the end of Revenge of the Sith
  • Kept the surprise of the revelation of Luke’s father at the end of Empire Strikes Back
The Machete Order satisfied those conditions and actually works rather well at keeping the emphasis on Luke rather than Anakin. However given the existence of the sequel and interquel movies, publication order works well now.

I’m struggling to think of an example where, for me, chronological order is better than publication order. Poul Anderson’s Technic History series might be one example in broad strokes - it’s better to have read some of the Polesotechnic League stories before the Terran Empire ones, and leave the Long Night stories until later. However even there, Flandry is best appreciated as a character if you read his stories in publication order.
 
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