James Augustus Meredith Christopher appeared in Sharpe's Havoc. In his forties as of 1809, he is nonetheless described as youthfully handsome, black-haired with a touch of grey at the temples, and white, even teeth, of which he was very proud.
Serving on General Cradock's staff in Portugal, he has the courtesy rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but is not a commissioned Army officer, rather he is "a Foreign Office flunky." He had served once as a captain with the Lincolnshire Fencibles, however, and still held that commission.
The son of a doctor, he disdained the idea of following in his father's footsteps, seeing his profession as being "in trade", preferring instead to use his mother's connections as a second cousin of the Earl of Rochford, to advance in the ranks of the Foreign Office, where his cleverness, ability with languages, and confirmed yes-man tendencies saw him rise to a position in Portugal where he would "advise the government whether it would be prudent to keep British troops in Portugal."
His superior, Lord Pumphrey, described Christopher as a "thruster," the type of fox hunter who would shove other hunters aside in his rush to the front of the line.
Christopher entered into a marriage with Pearce Courtnell's daughter, in the mistaken belief that she had an income of eight thousand pounds a year, only to find that she was "barely worth sixpence." Pumphrey commented maliciously that their marriage was not a happy one.
Instead of fulfilling his assigned role in Portugal, he thought to use the situation to his own enrichment. He encouraged rebellious officers of the invading French army to conspire against their commander,Marshal Soult who, it was rumored, was planning to declare himself King of Portugal and declare his "kingdom" independent from the rest of the French Empire. Christopher promised these men British support if they rose up against "King Nicolas", but secretly compiled their names and offered to expose them all to Marshal Soult, demanding a monopoly on the port wine trade in what he believed was soon to be French-dominated Portugal (like many British officers and officials, Christopher found the notion that General Wellesley's tiny expeditionary force could actually defeat the hordes of invading French laughable).
At the same time, he concocted a more modest scheme to secure his fortune, if the grander one should fail. While stationed in Oporto, he had made the acquaintance of the wealthy Mrs. Savage, the widow of a very rich English port merchant, and her young daughter, Kate. At first he courted Mrs. Savage, but upon learning that her husband's will settled his entire estate on Kate, he quickly transferred his attentions to her, and quickly won her heart with a story that his first wife and child had both tragically perished during childbirth. When her mother fled their home in fear of the advancing French, Christopher convinced Kate to stay behind and "married" her in a sham ceremony, by bribing the local priest to recite a blessing in Latin over the couple, which Kate did not understand, and so believed she had been legally married. Christopher wasted no time in consummating his "marriage" with the beautiful Kate, who was horrified to discover that her "husband" was a sexual sadist who thought brutal beatings were a normal and necessary part of the act of love between a man and a woman.
Kate, unwilling to let go entirely of her romantic ideas, still did her best to obey her "husband"'s wishes, including accompanying him on his diplomatic errands to the French lines, and dressing for the occasion in a hussar's uniform which deliberately showed off her figure to the envious French officers (an affectation Christopher copied from Marshal Massena's mistress).
Christopher made the fatal mistake, however, of stealing Richard Sharpe's telescope, and then underestimating the Rifleman.
When he demanded she accompany him on his forays to the French however, her romanticism died to the point where she tried to refuse to go with him on the French retreat from Portugal and he told her is she stayed she'd be raped. She said he'd all ready done that.
The news of the bigamous marriage sealed his fate, Pumphrey declared that he could no be trusted and that as he possessed foreign office codes, "London would be immensely grateful if you were to remove him from their employment." (Sharpe's Havoc). Sharpe, Hogan and Lieutenant Vicente left in pursuit of Christopher, and finally confronted him, and the deserted Williamson, at a river crossing where they extricated Kate and Sharpe's telescope before Sharpe ran him through.