It is 1821, six years after the Battle of Waterloo. Richard Sharpe, veteran of the French Wars, has made his home and family in Normandy. However, the sudden arrival of Blas Vivar's wife alerts this instinctive hero to trouble. It is up to Sharpe in locating General Blas Vivar and bring him back from revolutionary Chile. Seeking out a fattened Patrick Harper - formerly his Irish sergeant-major - the two friends make their way by ship to the distant shores of the New World. They stop off at St. Helena to pay their respects to an exiled emperor: once the Scourge of Europe, now a saddened, sickened old man, plagued by what his own greatness could have brought France. Despite his restrictions, and being a former enemy, Napoleon proves a charming, almost sympathetic host. Yet, from almost beginning to end, Sharpe is tricked into aiding a conspiracy that could drench all the Americas in blood and turmoil. I won't spoil it for you by elaborating. But I will mention that the last (chonologically!) Sharpe adventure proves most entertaining: with varied, believable characters, a strange land fully described, peopled by treacherous, corrupt, and deceitful officials who delight in toying with two foreigners on an honourable mission. The interesting aspect of this great plot is that Spain gradually becomes Sharpe's enemy. In particular, I loved the delicate interview with Napoleon; Bautista proved a most cowardly, cunning arch-villain, and the wild, courageous rebel Cochrane added extra spice to a gripping read. Sharpe is set on course for an insane pursuit to find the truth about Vivar - and escape the jaws of certain death!