Despite clashes with his own superiors as well as with French foes, the durable British hero of Cornwell's splendid series (Sharpe's Devil, 1992, etc.) soldiers on during a bloody turning-point campaign in the Peninsular War. In the spring of 1811, Captain Richard Sharpe and his riflemen are reconnoitering the craggy borderland through which Napoleon's troops may launch another invasion of Portugal from their bases in Spain. The patrol surprises a band of dragoons who've been pillaging a mountain village, and Sharpe (an officer but not a gentleman, commissioned from the ranks) orders the execution of two rapists. The summary shootings earn him the personal hatred of the dead men's preternaturally vicious commanding officer, General Guy Loup of the feared Wolf Brigade. Back in camp, an unrepentant Sharpe is detailed to train an Irish guards company dispatched for geopolitical reasons from Spain's royal court to Viscount Wellington's coalition forces. Meanwhile, Loup, with inside help from his mistress, Juanita de Elia (a well-born Spanish courtesan who loves an expatriate Irish lord serving under Wellington), stages a night raid on the fort held by Sharpe and his outmanned crew. The defenders repulse this assault with sizable losses on both sides, but Sharpe learns he's being groomed as a scapegoat, again for reasons that have more to do with diplomatic exigencies than miliary competence. In a savage three-day engagement fought around the Fuentes de Onore, he redeems himself by beating back a climactic French charge and dispatching his sworn enemy in hand-to-hand combat described with as vivid a brutality as readers are likely to find this side of a forensic reference book. More great adventure from one of the most accomplished and stylish storytellers now writing. This time, Sharpe's new print appearance coincides with Masterpiece Theatre's adaptation of three previous books in the series.