This is the chronological Book 3 of the Richard Sharpe series.
It took Cornwell three books to do it, but I feel like he is finally starting to make an actual main character out of Richard Sharpe instead of leaving him as some half-formed shadow left to sit on the margins of the plot. Cornwell finally lets us spend more time in Sharpe's head, and I'm finding him to be be a character worth pulling for now that I'm getting to know him better.
For me, this book provided a much more balanced approach between the military conflict and the character development. The pacing was faster, there were more character-driven subplots, and the preparations leading up to the siege of Gawilghur were descriptive but not overdone. I also found the siege strategy of that previously unconquered fortress in the sky more intriguing than the more mundane city sieges of previous books.
This series got off to a very slow (and slightly disappointing) start, but this book redeemed it enough to keep me interested in what happens next. Since it appears that this is Sharpe's last battle in India, I am looking forward to a new location, new situations, and the continued growth of Sharpe as a character.