HMS Medusa is an obsolete frigate with an ill-assorted crew and an insecure captain. Why has she been dispatched under secret orders to be a sitting duck in one of the most vital ports of the Mediterranean?
Drawn into a close involvement with the Medusa's captain, Gareth Lloyd Jones, ex-adventurer Mike Steele begins a dangerous quest for answers. As past and present combine in a series of violent events, Steele finds himself at the centre of an international crisis to which only Lloyd Jones and the Medusa hold the key.
On the 50th anniversary of his first novel, which was followed by 26 more, including The Wreck of the Mary Deere , Innes again demonstrates his considerable talents as a storyteller. Michael Steele is a prominent Englishman living with his half-Maltese wife, Soo, on the Spanish-ruled island of Menorca, where he manages a chandlery, rents out villas and charters sea trips for tourists. The arrival of Gareth Lloyd Jones, a British navy officer searching for his treacherous half-brother, coincides with three other events: Steele's marital troubles, a pretty archeologist's tripping upon smugglers, and a separatist movement's agitation for the island's independence and alliance with Moscow. When Menorca's mayor is assassinated, Steele is caught up with political events that place Jones and his aging British navy frigate, the Medusa , at the center of a tempest in a valuable teapot, a strategically important section of the Mediterranean Sea. Innes resists the current temptation to put superpowers at odds in an inflated nuclear situation. In this modest, engrossing adventure novel he shows a skill many of these doomsday authors lack: he fashions an absorbing narrative rich in character and exotic atmosphere.