Set in 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars, when the British army has been forced to retreat into Spain and unspeakable events take place during the rout. John Lacroix an English hussar has been at the heart of the troubles.
Now back home he determines not to return to the war but to flee to the islands off Scotland in order to regain his equilibrium. Unknown to him the British army needs a scapegoat and has sent vengeance after him in the shape of a savage corporal and a Spanish officer.
The story is partly a chase but the main focus is on the recuperation of Lacroix as he finds friendship among a group of free thinkers. The story is beautifully written, with touches of humour and much compassion.