As he plans his escape, his thoughts return to the year 1812 when he was a cornet in Wellington's Peninsular Army. He and the Sixth had survived Corunna to endure three more years of brutal fighting that would culminate in one of the most vital and vicious confrontations of the campaign - the siege of Badajoz.
While Hervey paces his prison cell, and re-lives the bloodshed of battles past, friends from expected quarters rush to his aid ...
'As good on the details of the workings of a cavalry regiment in 1820 as ever Patrick O'Brian was on the workings of an 1820 warship.' Spectator
Haunted by nightmares and flashbacks of the war, David struggles to navigate through civilian life. He marries his childhood sweetheart. With guile and manipulation, he rises to the top of a major corporation. However, a terrible wartime secret lies locked within him that only a psychiatrist, with his own unsolvable problems, can unlock.
David has an affair with a beautiful seductress and finds himself impossibly in love with two women. His arrogance and infidelity lead him into a downward spiral. He loses his family, his mistress, and the career he fought so hard to build.
Serendipitously, he is reunited with an unusual acquaintance who offers him a job and a chance for redemption, but David has to sell his soul to the devil in order to succeed.
How David resolves the casualties he left behind in his escape from Germany, his drive for success, his infidelity, and how he opens the secret that tortures him is the climax of the story.