• Captain Willsen is fencing with another man, whom he defeats, before being addressed by a part-Dane, British captain named John Lavisser.
• Lavisser and Willsen are to travel to Denmark to try to bribe the Danish government into bringing their naval fleet to England for safekeeping from the French forces.
• Lavisser, under the guise of planning, lures Willsen to an alley, where a thug named Barker murders Willsen at the behest of Lavisser.
• Captain Richard Sharpe attempts to sell his commission, but is told it is not allowed since the commission was earned on the battlefield rather than being bought.
• Sharpe is disillusioned with the Army and wants to start a new life.
• The men who reject Sharpe's offer to sell his commission gossip about Sharpe and the fact that he once lived with a wealthy woman who becomes pregnant by him.
• Sharpe received his commission in India...
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