1793: the thunder of cannon fire echoes across the English Channel, chilling the stoutest hearts . . .
The opening skirmishes of the French Revolutionary War send ageing frigate HMS Themis into waters swarming with enemy ships of the line. Instructed to survey the French coastline, she's soon in the thick of the action: cutlasses slash and bayonets skewer, cannons splinter decks and sever limbs. Onto the smoky deck strides young Lieutenant Charles Hayden.
With an English father and a French mother, the Admiralty are reluctant to give Hayden his first command. Instead, he is to act as a bulwark between the Themis's tyrannical Captain Hart and a mutinous crew. Steering a course between the cowardly captain and the treacherous crew, English common sense and French pride, Hayden must first master his wits before challenging the might of the French naval war machine.