Not many men emerged from Trafalgar without an ounce of credit to their names, but courtesy of an over-fondness for rum and his habitual bad luck, Lieutenant Martin Jerrold managed it. In February 1806, he is given one final chance to redeem his reputation and dispatched to Dover.
Things don't augur well when, walking off the effects of a night in the tavern, Jerrold stumbles across a corpse lying on the beach. And they take a distinct turn for the worst when, to his horror and bemusement, he is suspected of murder. With a captain who despises him, and the local magistrate determined to see him hang, he knows clearing his name will require an imporbable reversal of his miserable fortunes. Somewhere in Dover's twisted streets, someone must know something. But Jerrold soon discovers that nothing is as it seems in a town where smuggling is a way of life, where everyone from the fishermen to the colonel of dragoons drinks only the finest French brandy...
Distrusted by his superiors, set upon by suspiciously well-informed thugs and attacked by the French at sea, Jerrold does find some sympathy in the less-than-respectable arms of the comely Isobel, but he knows he has but two weeks to save his skin - or perish in the attempt.