Captain Richard Giles, Earl of Camshire, has just settled into his new role as a member of the House of Lords when he is approached to help frustrate a plot by Napoleon to remove a Scottish lord and foment a rebellion against the British monarchy. Giles’s frigate, Glaucus, must sail to intercept a French invasion in Scottish waters, nip the rebellion in the bud, and help his noble colleague. Meanwhile, at home, together with his wife, Daphne, Giles has to deal with the consequences of an outbreak of smallpox and a disturbing pattern of horse thievery from his stables.
To fool Napoleon’s spies, Giles’s ship will sail north on what should be considered a training voyage under his first lieutenant. Giles will join the frigate after dealing with problems caused by his relatives being stranded in a town where smallpox had broken out.
The frigate’s harmless ‘training’ voyage becomes more complicated rapidly as his officers sail towards their destination, partly because his officers go looking for trouble, partly because trouble comes looking for them. Issues of slavery and the abolition of the English trade in slaves form the background to their adventures.
The French intervention in the Scottish rebellion is more extensive than was expected. The plots against Giles’ and Daphne’s horse business are far more intricate than they originally appeared to be. Will these difficulties be the occasion when Giles’s string of good luck ends? Can the threat to the smooth operation of the horse business be successfully countered? Maybe, maybe not. The fate of the Camshires’ enterprises hangs in the balance in the early months of 1807.