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.