In the spring of 1811, as one of the most bitter battles of the Peninsular War is about to commence, the hopes of all of Britain are turned toward Spain, where victory will be won or lost. A skilled leader and proven hero, Colonel Richard Sharpe has taken charge of a ragtag Irish battalion from the king of Spain's household guard. Poorly equipped and untrained, they are easily ambushed by an elite French unit commanded by Sharpe's deadly enemy, Brigadier General Guy Loup. Sharpe and Loup have tangled before, and now the fighting wolf means to exact his revenge. But something goes terribly wrong in their bloody skirmish, and Sharpe is faced with the ruin of his career and reputation. Stripped of all but his honor, spirit, and courage, Sharpe must lead his men to glory on the bloody streets of Spain to redeem himself in the eyes of his country--or die trying.