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It is February 1818, and Adam Bolitho longs for marriage and a safe personal harbour. But with so much of Britain's fleet redundant, he knows he is fortunate to be offered HMS Onward, a new 38-gun frigate whose first mission is not war but diplomacy, as consort to the French frigate Nautilus.
Under the burning sun of North Africa, Bolitho is keenly aware of the envy and ambition among his officers, the troubled, restless spirits of his midshipmen and the old enemy's proximity. It is only when Nautilus becomes a sacrificial offering on the altar of empire that every man discovers the brotherhood of the sea is more powerful than the bitter memories of an ocean of blood and decades of war.
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 more than 30 novels and two non-fiction books.