Jane and Sharpe are married in Spain but he must leave her stricken with the fever that is sweeping the camp to join an invasion force led by inexperienced but arrogant young Colonel Bampfylde to capture a strategic French chateau which the Comte Maquerre assures them will instigate a revolt against Bonaparte if taken. Bampfylde's incompetence leads to heavy losses in an ill-advised storming but Sharpe's regiment take the chateau by stealth. However Maquerre has led them into a trap for he is pro-Bonaparte and alerts the French,under General Calvet,to the British presence,tricking the stupid Bampfylde into leaving Sharpe and his men guarding a poorly defended and exposed building. But Sharpe's kindness to Maquerre's sister Catherine and her mother leads to Catherine helping Sharpe to beat her treacherous brother and wipe out Calvet's force. Sharpe returns to Spain to find Bampfylde court-martialled for his incompetence and Jane recovered.