Wessex is relieved of patrolling the coasts of Florida in 1791 and is sent to monitor the slave rebellion on Saint Domingue, which will be later divided into the island nations of Haiti and The Dominican Republic.
Donland’s orders are explicit, do not become involved! He does become involved when he rescues the recently widowed Emily Bostwick who is quite enamoured with the dashing Captain Donland. Adding to the difficulties of the patrol, Donland and his officers experience bouts of unexplained sickness. As Maddox states, it is like my guts was taken out and put back wrong way round.
The slaves capture towns, forts and ships. There is no place safe on the island for any white man. Admiral Affleck, the Jamaican Station Commandant, orders Donland to find and to sink any vessel that might be used to threaten English commerce. What Donland does not know is that the rebels have plans to take Wessex and are willing to sacrifice the ships they have taken to do so.