Captain Richard Sharpe's renegade ways leave him discarded by his regiment and waging a war against a private Portuguese enemy - one fought through the burning, pillaged streets of Coimbra.
Forced to retreat across treacherous terrain, the British army prepare vast defences at the Lines of Torres Vedras - their greatest secret and their last hope of stopping the French reaching Lisbon. And risking everything to re-join his regiment, and lead the army into battle once more, is Sharpe . . .