It's 1802, there's peace after nine years of Anglo-French war, and Richard Bolitho is now promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Red--in this 15th Bolitho/British-Navy episode. (He's ""the youngest and most junior on the Navy List. . . apart from Nelson, that is, the nation's darling."") But Bolitho's first peacetime mission is fraught with conflict: he's supposed to sail to Boston, where he'll meet French officials and formally hand over the Caribbean isle of San Felipe to them (part of the Peace Treaty of Amiens). The island's British governor, however, has no intention of leaving; Bolitho himself is dubious about the surrender of the strategically located island--though he's prepared to follow his orders vigorously. Furthermore, before Bolitho's flagship Achates reaches Boston, it's been fired upon by a mysterious frigate--the same one that later appears to be responsible for a British ship's sinking (and massacre) down in the Caribbean. In the ensuing action, then, Bolitho's forces must storm San Felipe, fighting their own countrymen and taking the belligerent governor prisoner; they must also seek out the mystery-ship (Spanish, it seems) and take revenge; Bolitho's beloved sidekick Allday is seriously wounded in a fight to hold the island. And throughout, while Bolitho's nephew/ lieutenant Adam is falling for a Boston lass, the Vice-Admiral is brooding about wife Belinda back home. . . who's about to give birth. Lots of battle scenes (a French frigate attacks the home-bound Achates), lots of sentiment and camaraderie, a modicum of period flavor: the usual competent sailor's brew--rather humorless but generally foamy.