Pressed into King George's Navy for the second time in a month, John Pearce and his Pelicans find themselves working aboard the HMS Brazen, sailing the Channel from Plymouth to Dover in search of the numerous French privateers that prey on English merchant shipping: her task to stop them and, if possible, to capture or destroy them The Brazen is a slow and overcrowded ship, having a hard time capturing her prey and so the promised bounty fails to materialize. And Pearce has greater things on his mind--he must rescue his ailing father from the dangers of revolutionary Paris and to do that he must somehow leave the ship. He tries mutiny, the crew being readied by failure, but Captain Benjamin Colbourne is quick and smartly promotes Pearce to Midshipman. Pearce is thereby freed to leave the ship immediately--which appears to the remaining Pelicans as though their leader has deserted them. Travelling to France, Pearce discovers that he is late to save his father, who died too weak to survive the rigors of prison. What else is Pearce to do but return to the Brazen and put right the appearance of betrayal with which he left, and to learn his seagoing trade in order to exact revenge . . . Entwining historical facts with fictitious characters, David Donachie has once again created a masterpiece of nautical adventure fiction.