Spain, Summer 1813
a campaign battle, Sharpe discovers that a group of soldiers
led by Sgt. Rodd are deserting. The
provosts arrive too late to catch them, but arrest one
of Sharpe's men for stealing a chicken.
A relative of Wellington's arrives in camp, Mrs Bess Nugent
and her daughter, Ellie, trying to find Mr Nugent who has
become lost in Spain while searching for a hoard of Aztec
gold, supposed to be buried in the hills. Wellington
refuses to mount a search and orders the women home.
Wellington is short of men, and agrees to exchange 52 British
deserters, captured by the Spanish partisan El Casco, for
Baker rifles. Sharpe is ordered to
manage the exchange. On the journey, Sharpe and his men realise they are
being followed. It is Bess and Ellie Nugent.
The exchange takes place. One of the deserters is smoking Nugent's pipe. Unable
to persuade Sharpe to continue the search, Bess and Ellie go alone. Sharpe
cannot stop them, so he sends the provosts back with the
deserters and he and his men go after Bess and Ellie.
and Ellie are ambushed by guerrillas, Bess is killed and
Ellie is carried off into the mountains. Whilst in captivity, she sees her father who is
also a prisoner, but he has lost his mind. Sharpe is
left with no choice but to mount a rescue in the caves where
Ellie and her father are held.