His voyage home should be a period of rest, but his ship is riven with treachery and threatened by the Revenant, a French sea-raider that is terrorizing British shipping in the Indian Ocean. Betrayed and defeated, Sharpe is imprisoned on the Ile de France, doomed to rot there until the war ends.
The seventeenth Sharpe novel sees Sharpe returning from India to London to join the newly formed Green jackets. Sharpe, though a little more comfortable with his new officer rank, is sure that this new unit is of lower status, and that he has failed. His ship home is shipwrecked: he is captured by pirates but fighting free with a few companions, finds himself on a British Navy ship heading to join Nelson's fleet. And there, in October 1805, he finds himself involved in the great sea battle, and discovers new skills in fighting on sea.