Here, in the 16th novel in the Bolitho series, the newly knighted and now Vice Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho puts to sea as commander of a squadron, sailing on the Argonaute, a ship captured from the French Admiral Jobert, who lies in wait for Bolitho, hoping to recapture his ship and his honor. It's 1803. Horatio Nelson is still alive and blockading the French fleet off Toulon. Bolitho, the superb Cornish sailor, is sadly unsettled as he leaves England. He and his young second wife have found themselves at odds. She wants to live in London, where she can advance his career; he will never willingly leave the Bolitho manor in Falmouth. And Allday, Bolitho's supremely loyal friend and coxswain, is equally unsettled. He has failed to recover fully from his most recent battle wounds, and his newly discovered son has turned out to be a disappointment. Before the squadron makes it to Gibraltar, Bolitho's Flag Captain, Val Keen, saves a beautiful girl from a flogging and worse at the hands of the crew deporting her to Botany Bay. When Keen and the girl fall in love, it is almost more than Bolitho can handle. Sorting out middle-aged passion, trying to smooth things over between Allday and son, coping with temporary blindness from battle splinters, worrying for the safety of his nephew Adam, captain of the brig Firefly, and trying to outthink the wily Jobert, Bolitho is very nearly at the end of his rope and wonders if he will ever make it back to patch things up with Lady Belinda. Between Sir Richard and his nephew, the Bolitho series may sail on forever, and that's just fine. Even the impossible romance works to good effect in this bittersweet sailing adventure.