1. What is Sharpe observing at the beginning of Chapter 1, and what is his position in the British army? What is he thinking about at the beginning of Chapter 1?
Richard Sharpe, a private in the Thirty-third Regiment of the British army, observes vultures while he contemplates desertion. The vultures circle over dead pack animals and will soon be circling over dead soldiers.
2. Where is Sharpe stationed, why is the British army there and why are the French there?
Sharpe is stationed in India where resistance to British rule continues and the year is 1799. The French have been helping the Indian resistance while Napoleon carries out his campaign in Egypt (1798-1801.)
3. What does Sergeant Hakeswill do while they are marching and how does his action affect Sharpe?
Hakeswill challenges Sharpe about talking while on the march and demands to inspect his musket. Unknown to Sharpe, Hakeswill takes the flint out of the musket and replaces it with an ordinary stone. He later tries to entrap Sharpe into a flogging offense, but Sharpe had checked his flint, found the stone and replaced it with a good flint.
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