Sharpe is a scrappy Sergeant with the second Battalion
of the 95th Rifles. After bravely saving the life of the
Sir Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington), Sharpe
is rewarded with a field commission, making him a lieutenant. In
command of the 95th Rifles under Captain Murray, Sharpe
soon finds that they are an undisciplined bunch. Neither
Murray nor the men of the Rifles are prepared to accept
Sharpe's command, because ‘proper’ officers
are not raised from the ranks. His first mission is to
go behind enemy lines to locate James Rothschild, an agent
missing in Casa Antiga, with badly-needed funds for the
has his first encounter with Commandante Teresa and Major
Don Blas Vivar, on watch in the hills when Sharpe’s
company is attacked. All except Sharpe and a small
band of Chosen Men are killed. Sharpe continues with
the mission he has been given, and Teresa and Blas Vivar
agree to go with Sharpe to Casa Antiga if Sharpe will accompany
them on their own mission to Torrecastro afterwards.
they find Casa Antiga, it has been attacked by the French
under Colonel de l'Eclin, but there is no sign of Rothschild. Left
behind are a Methodist couple, Mr. and Mrs. Parker and their
daughter Louisa. The family are taken into Sharpe's
discovers his real mission is to escort one of Spain’s
holiest relics, an ancient flag, and he doesn't wish to continue
to Torrecastro. But Vivar's request is reinforced by
the appearance of Maj. Hogan, Wellington's 'exploring officer'. Sharpe
is ordered to hold the town while the relic of St. James
is flown to inspire the Spanish to rise up against the French.
Teresa: We have two ears, but only one mouth; so a good leader will
listen twice as much as he shouts.
Sharpe: Gimme a pick-lock, Cooper.
Cooper: Pick-lock, sir? Catch me with a pick-lock!
Patrick Harper: They did, Coop. But when you got out of Newgate prison,
you got another set, and that's the one the officer wants.
Cooper: Do I get it back, sir?
Richard Sharpe: Trust me.
very hard to trust a man who wants to borrow your pick-lock,
Teresa: If you were French, I would take a knife and you would tell
me all I wanted to know.
Richard Sharpe: But we are allies.
Do allies keep secrets from each other?
Richard Sharpe: Lovers keep secrets from each other, yet they still make love.
Harper: Now there's a woman worth fighting dirty for,
Harper: Sweet is the silent mouth, Cooper.
Cooper: Didn't say a word, did I?
Harper: There are two kinds of officers, sir: killin'
officers and murderin' officers. Killin' officers are poor
old buggers that get you killed by mistake. Murderin' officers
are mad, bad, old buggers that get you killed on purpose
- for a country, for a religion, maybe even for a flag.
You see that Major Hogan, sir? That's what I call a murderin'
[Sharpe is asking his men about their
From Wheatley in Oxfordshire.
courtier to my lord Bacchus and an unremitting debtor.
a rake and a wastrel, Harris. Is there anything you can do?
can read, sir.
Sharpe: You volunteer for this lot, Cooper?
not exactly, sir. I was 'invited' to join, by a magistrate.
the "Chosen Men",
the company sharpshooters]
Richard Sharpe: Chosen Men, are you? Well, I didn't choose you.
Harper: We don't want to go south, sir.
Richard Sharpe: And
what the hell do I care what you and the lads want, eh? You
think the British Army's a bloody dem... [searches] ... dem...
sir. Comes from the Greek word "demos" and means "rule
Richard Sharpe: Shut up, Harris!
in Black: You say you are an Irishman. Why should you
be loyal to the British dogs, who want to take you to Lisbon
to shoot you?
Patrick Harper: Jesus, you took the words right out of my mouth.
Man in Black: I can help you. Give me the box?
Patrick Harper: And if I do?
Man in Black: You will be rich.
Patrick Harper: And if I don't?
Man in Black: You will be dead.
Patrick Harper: Hmm... well, you're having the best of the argument so far.