Fifth in this author's series of adventure-history tales (The Elegant Witch, Traitor's; Moon, Rebel Heiress, Black William)- the background here is England's war with France and the treasonous Channel smuggling. In 1782 Captain Appleton ousted from the Navy with his reputation smirched, takes his daughter Margaret from her young ladies' school to be the mistress of the house he has inherited from his Uncle Roger. On the cliffs near Dover they piece together the activities of Roger, some of the facts of his death, and, unwillingly, become part of the smuggling picture. They are alerted by the revenue men; they give refuge to a Bow Street runner; they become the host to an American relative even if he is an agent for the new country; they fight the power of Tom Thorn not only in his illegal trade but in the vicious hold he has over the village. A period piece of earnest intent, this scorns decollatage devices for a straightforward story.