March 1814. Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho returns to England from several months' rigorous patrolling off the North American coast. War with the United States has not yet ended, but news of Napoleon's defeat and abdication has stunned a navy and a nation bled by years of European conflict.
Victory has been the impossible dream, and now, for Bolitho, a vision of the future and a personal peace seems attainable. However, an unsympathetic Admiralty dispatches him to Malta.
Is this appointment a compliment or a malicious ploy to keep Bolitho from the woman he loves and the freedom he craves? He cannot know, but the voice of duty speaks more insistently even than the voice of the heart, and in this familiar sea where both glory and tragedy have touched his life, Bolitho must confront the future, the renaissance of a hated tyrant and the fulfilment of destiny.
Alexander Kent is the author of 28 acclaimed books featuring Richard Bolitho. Under his own name, Douglas Reeman, and in the course of a career spanning 45 years, he has written over 30 novels and two nonfiction books.