This is a braided novel of three novellas which take place whilst William and his men are waiting for the ‘Thetis’ Schooner to be refitted.
Mr. Midshipman Prescott Goes to School
Charged with discovering whether a schoolmaster is training traitors deliberately, John Scully turns schoolmaster, and Colin Prescott takes up a place at a small school whose alumni have been causing trouble. Colin must adapt to being with boys his age but with much more limited life experience. He finds a number of surprises at school, and learns a lot as well.
William Price and the Bothersome Brothers
Having gone on board the ‘Thetis’ to oversee the final refitting, William finds one of the pupils from the school has ideas of causing trouble for the crew in order to find his brother. Add to this the difficulty of getting enough specialised crewmen, and William has a headache.
William Price goes Nor’East
When William is given a document which was not intended for him, he has to take it to William Wickham to save the lives of post office sailors. He did not anticipate that travelling from Portsmouth to London could have more dangers than sailing the high seas.