The first five books in the "Sharpe" series by Bernard Cornwell are "Sharpe's Tiger," "Sharpe's Triumph," "Sharpe's Fortress," "Sharpe's Trafalgar" and "Sharpe's Prey." The next five books are "Sharpe's Rifles," "Sharpe's Havoc," "Sharpe's Eagle," "Sharpe's Gold" and "Sharpe's Escape." There are 11 more books in the series, as of 2016.
"Sharpe's Tiger" begins the story of Richard Sharpe, a private in the 33rd Regiment of Foot in the British army. Sharpe is thinking about deserting the army with his lover, Mary Bickerstaff. His company sergeant and commander plan to use Bickerstaff as a prostitute for a scheme to get Sharpe to purposefully attack the sergeant, Obadiah Hakeswill. The scheme works and is witnessed by a junior officer.
This results in a court martial for Sharpe and a sentence of 2,000 lashes. However, Sharpe is saved by Arthur Wellesley, the later 1st Duke of Wellington, who reduces the sentence to 200 lashes. Sharpe is then requested to join Lieutenant William Lawford on a special mission. If this mission is successful, Sharpe is promised to be promoted to sergeant.
The two disguise themselves as deserters in order to rescue the chief of the British East India Company's intelligence service. Sharpe ends up bringing Mary on the mission without getting permission.