David McTaggart is a 39-year-old Canadian expatriate with a boat, no commitments, and no politics when, in 1972, he succumbs to the appeal by the Canadian organization Greenpeace for someone to sail into the French nuclear test zone at Mururoa atoll. Competitiveness? Romance? A sailor's indignation ""that the French, or anybody else, should dare to cordon off a huge slab of the high seas in defiance of every known maritime law""? And McTaggart, based in New Zealand, is just about the only one with a boat capable of making the 3,000-mile trip in time. After efforts by local authorities to stop him, however, and harassment by French vessels at the site, McTaggart begins to appreciate the significance of his venture: ""the individual is anything but a powerless cipher."" He and his two shipmates have at least delayed the bomb tests, and McTaggart is somewhat awed that his small boat could affect ""the most incredible weapon of mass destruction ever devised."" Then a French vessel rams his sloop, and the tests take place anyway, completing McTaggart's politicization. Not only does he sail for Mururoa a second time, he is so outraged at the French government that he ties suit for damages. After a favorable ruling, McTaggart dreams that his victory may lead someday to the collapse of ""the whole elaborate interlocking structure of the military-industrial-complex."" Despite such grandiose statements, McTaggart's is an exciting story that does prove the power of one determined individual to make a resounding nuisance of himself.