It is 1757, and the British navy is regrouping from a slow start to the seven years war.
A Spanish colonial governor and his family are pursued through the Caribbean by a pair of mysterious ships from the Dutch island of St. Eustatius. The British frigate Medina rescues the governor from his hurricane-wrecked ship, leading Captain Edward Carlisle and his first lieutenant George Holbrooke into a web of intrigue and half-truths. Are the Dutchmen operating under a letter of marque or are they pirates, and why are they hunting the Spaniard? Only the diplomatic skills of Carlisle’s aristocratic wife, Lady Chiara, can solve the puzzle.
When Carlisle is injured, the young Holbrooke must grow up quickly. Under his leadership, Medina takes part in a one-sided battle with the French that will influence a young Horatio Nelson to choose the navy as a career.