To find Garcia Hernandez, follow the road to Alba de Tormes from Salamanca. It is well signposted because Alba de Tormes (thanks to St. Teresa of Avila) is still a busy place of pilgrimage. Go through the town and follow the signs to Penaranda, and the village is some seven kilometres beyond Alba de Tormes. Today it calls itself’Garcihernandez‘ and the road by-passes it, but turn left into the village, cross the only bridge that leads over a small stream, and the track (suitable for cars) leads into the lee of the hill where the
King’s German Legion made their magnificent, extraordinary charge.
I owe a great debt to Thomas Logio, physician and friend, who supplied me with a ‘suitable’ wound for Richard Sharpe. He saved me from my own medical ignorance, though I fear I may have embellished the information to his embarrassment. For that, I beg his forgiveness. Whatever is accurate about Sharpe’s injury, treatment and recovery belongs to Dr. Logio.
The rest is all fiction. No Leroux, no Lord Spears, no codename ‘El Mirador’, not even, alas, a Marquesa de Casares el Grande y Melida Sadaba. Sharpe and Harper are just shades of the real men who marched and marched and finally fought on that burning July day in the valley by the Arapiles. It was a great victory and they must have been relieved, the survivors, and perhaps a little apprehensive for they knew, surely, that the war that in 1812 was spreading around the world would need many more such ‘great’ victories if it was ever to end. Sharpe and Harper will march again.