Christmas 1826 finds Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons alone and a prisoner. He is locked up in the notorious fortress of Badajoz, with little means of outside communication. He must escape, but as Hervey lays his plans his thoughts return to 1812, when as a young cornet he was with Wellington's Peninsular Army. Having survived the terrible retreat to Corunna, Hervey and the Sixth had gone on to endure three more years of fighting'only to be stalled at Badajoz. But what Hervey cannot know, as he paces his prison cell fourteen years later, is that in Lisbon, his close friends-including the beautiful Isabella Delgado-are rushing to his aid. And the escape they plan is audacious in the extreme.