Lambdin's lusty Royal Naval Lieutenant Alan Lewrie (The King's Commission, 1991, etc.) sails for the East Indies, where French privateers have dared to tamper with the profits of Britain's opium trade. Having at last foiled his father's plot to disinherit him of his mother's fortune, Lt. Lewrie is in London and in the chips, furnishing a flat and enjoying the favors of at least three shameless London ladies while paying semi-serious court to his virtuous colonial girlfriend, Caroline Chiswick. But the life of ease and easy virtue ends abruptly with a call from the Admiralty. Alan's services are needed immediately. He's to join a secret, unofficial mission, sailing with the crew of Telesto, an armed merchantman bound for India, where the august East India Company has fallen victim to French privateering. It's actually not a bad time to leave town: the pretty little housemaid Alan's seduced has announced her pregnancy, and Caroline Chiswick seems unduly interested in matrimony. In India, Alan is reunited with the last man in the world he wants to see--his unspeakable cad of a father, Sir Hugo. But Sir Hugo has gone off the sauce, given up paternal treachery, and returned to soldiering, living the good life in a pocket palace complete with complaisant dancing girls. A reconciliation is effected, and father and son sail for Macao, Canton, the South China Sea, and a series of musing battles on sea and land with thousands of fierce native pirates and their decadent French masters. Irresistible.