In the bitter winter of 1809 the French are winning the war in Spain and Britain's forces are retreating towards Corunna, with Napoleon's victorious armies in pursuit. Lieutenant Richard Sharpe and a detachment of Riflemen are cut off from the British army and surrounded by enemy troops. Their only hope of escape is to accept the help of an unlikely ally, a Spanish cavalry officer, Major Blas Vivar.
Unknown to Sharpe, the Spaniard harbours a desperate and quixotic ambition which will lead to a suicidal assault on the holy city of Santiago de Compostela and a savage fight against overwhelming French numbers. Sharpe's determination must be tested to its limit if victory is to be snatched from disaster.
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