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A Richard Sharpe short story, featuring scenes of action and adventure at Christmas. `You'll like Irati,' Colonel Hogan said. `It's a nothing place, Richard. Hovels and misery, that's all it is and all it ever will be, but that's where you're going for Christmas.' Sharpe was sent to Irati because maybe the French were going there. The garrison planned to march at Christmas in the hope that their enemies would be too bloated with beef and wine to fight, but Hogan had got wind of their plans and was now setting his snares on the only two routes that the escaping French could use. One, the eastern road, was by far the easier route, for it entered France through a low pass, and Hogan guessed it was that route that the French would choose. But there was a second road, a tight, hard, steep road, and that had to be blocked as well and so the Prince of Wales's Own Volunteers, Sharpe's regiment, would climb into the hills and spend their Christmas at a place of hovels and misery called Irati. Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

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