A clever young American officer in George II's navy sails against the Spanish and French fleets--with precious little help from his betters--in this latest 18th-century swashbuckler from the author of In Perilous Seas (1984) and The Black Cockade (1982). The enemies in the summer of 1742, for Americans who slept through Colonial American history class, are the British and the Spanish. The French are for the moment neutral, but they're being awfully nice to the Spanish, allowing them use of the French naval base at Toulon. Lt. Edward Mainwaring, captain of HMS Diana, a sixth-rate fighting ship, wants to have a peek at the Spanish fleet. Mainwaring, a native of Martha's Vineyard, is an exceedingly capable sailor who has hit a glass ceiling--thanks to his lack of family and to his failure to acquire a heavyweight sponsor at the Admiralty. He sails Diana into Toulon, immediately tangles with a Spanish man-of-war, and Diana is sunk, not by the Spaniards but by the perfidious and supposedly neutral French, led by Mainwaring's old enemy, the Chevalier Rigaud de la Roch-Bourbon. The Yankee and his crew escape on a stolen Spanish ship, sail back to the British fleet, and cook up a daring plan to bottle up the continental fleet in Toulon harbor. Lt. Mainwaring gets the admirals' blessing but precious little in the way of hardware. He will have to rely on his plucky little band of adoring shipmates and some disgruntled French fisherfolk. The rigging gets extraordinarily complex, and the dialects become occasionally impenetrable, but, overall, the swashes buckle plenty fast and furious.