Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater's frigate, HMS Antigone, is ordered to the Baltic Sea in the spring of 1807 as Napoleon's grip has begun to reach across Europe to the borders of Holy Russia. As country after country falls under the weight of French domination, Captain Drinkwater is faced with the challenges brought about by military disaster and diplomatic intrigue.
On board the Antigone, Drinkwater is threatened by the seething discontent of his crew and the instability of his drunken first lieutenant. Drinkwater's task is to cooperate with his country's allies and intelligence agents. When a coded message is intercepted, his mission suddenly becomes one of extreme personal danger. As the fate of Europe is being decided, Drinkwater must carry out his mission in the face of his old enemy. This final confrontation brings him to the brink of death.