It is the summer of 1964 during the Far Eastern war euphemistically called ‘Confrontation’. A British Royal Marine patrol has orders to penetrate Indonesian Borneo to locate a river thought by Allied intelligence to be being used by the Indonesians to build up supplies before launching a major attack on Sarawak. Charged with this mission, Lieutenant Charles Kirton makes a most extraordinary discovery amid the dense mangrove swamps bordering a river in Borneo. Not only does this discovery enable Kirton to fulfill his mission but it is quite coincidentally intensely personal and unpleasantly macabre. From this highly-charged opening sequence, the story flashes back a century to 1867, revealing the truth behind this strange event, when young Henry Kirton, Second Officer of the auxiliary steamship River Tay, is dumped ashore in Singapore, badly injured by a fall from the rigging of his ship. Woodman’s compelling tale has echoes of Joseph Conrad..