Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons is a prisoner of the Spanish, incarcerated in the infamous fortress of Badajoz.
As he plans his escape, his thoughts return to the year 1812 when he was a cornet in Wellington's Peninsular Army. He and the Sixth had survived Corunna to endure three more years of brutal fighting that would culminate in one of the most vital and vicious confrontations of the campaign - the siege of Badajoz.
While Hervey paces his prison cell, and re-lives the bloodshed of battles past, friends from expected quarters rush to his aid ...
'As good on the details of the workings of a cavalry regiment in 1820 as ever Patrick O'Brian was on the workings of an 1820 warship.' Spectator