When a 14-year-old is accused of killing a toy maker, Inspector Reid must delve into the violent world of child gangs.
The Franco-Spanish Frontier, 1813 A carriage travelling through the Spanish countryside is ambushed by French soldiers and a young nun flees in terror. Later, the soldiers themselves are attacked by the British and the French colonel kills his captain and trades uniforms. The French soldier claims to be Captain Dumas and surrenders himself to Sharpe. Sharpe is suspicious, but before he can question Dumas further, Col Berkeley of the South Essex accepts the man's parole. The terrified young nun emerges from the woods and attaches herself to Sharpe. Struck dumb with fear, she is unable to tell Sharpe who she is or what happened. Later, Munro tells Sharpe that Napoleon has sent a French colonel to capture a British agent called El Mirador. Sharpe is ordered to go to Villafranca to kill the colonel. At Villafranca, Sharpe is dismayed to discover that an old enemy, Sir Henry Simmerson, is in charge of the town. He pompously declares that the French are no threat and is immediately proved wrong when they attack and Dumas escapes. Sharpe's suspicions are proven correct when he is revealed as Leroux, the colonel intent on killing El Mirador. The South Essex mount an attack, but just before Sharpe can kill Leroux, he is gravely wounded and lost in the fray.moreless