This is the author's seventh novel about Richard Bolitho -- now he's Commodore of a Mediterranean squadron whose function is to get info re French fleet movements for the British. The year is 1798, when Napoleon was about to make his ill-fated sortie to Egypt, and naturally the success of Bolitho's mission is the crucial factor in Nelson's subsequent victory in the Battle of the Nile. The familiar reader's expectations of impossible heroics both against the inscrutable deep and vastly superior enemy forces will not be disappointed, as Bolitho's frigates and ships-of-the-line take on all of Corfu at one point, not to mention enough water to flood your average Central American country. There is also the exploration of men's characters under stress (Captains Farquhar and Herrick -- Bolitho's old friend -- from previous novels), which points up various morals vis-a-vis ambition, hubris, and justice. An enjoyable addition to a limited but perennially popular genre.