Cornwell's Richard Sharpe series continues as Major Sharpe leaves his new wife to take part in a joint operation with the Royal Navy, a mission that leaves Sharpe, his Riflemen and their Royal Marine co-fighters besieged in a fort inside Napoleonic France. Richard Sharpe, the up-from-the-ranks hero of the Prince Regent's army, has scarcely had time to enjoy his new marriage, when he is ordered to join forces with the odious Royal Naval Captain Horace Bamfylde and venture into France to seize the Teste de Buche, a fortress guarding the harbor near Bordeaux where, rumor has it, citizens are fed up with the Corsican monster and are ready to take arms for the Bourbons. Once the fortress is captured, Sharpe and his Riflemen are to link up with the rebels. That's the public plan. Only Sharpe and his commanding officer, Colonel Elphinstone, know that the action is a decoy to draw French attention from a massive British landing well to the south. But though the plan is a scum, Sharpe must give it his best effort or the French won't fall for it. Joint service operations seem to have been no better then they are now, and the arrogant stupidity of the naval commander nearly spells disaster for Sharpe as Bamfylde sends the marines into a French trap. But Sharpe saves the marines and seizes and holds the fortress until he is overcome by French artillery and treachery. Will he make it out alive? Lots of derring-do. Sharpe is never dull.