It is the late 18th century, and Britain is at war with the French. At the start of the novel, Thomas Kydd is promoted and sent to Malta to commission his first command, a brig sloop called Teazer. With the fleet engaged in blockading the French off the coast of Egypt, Kydd finds himself in the position of needing to build his reputation without being under the direct eye of those senior officers who are in a position to advance his career. Although he does distinguish himself, he finds to his chagrin that peace is declared. His ship is decommissioned, and he is sent home on half pay. He then takes command of a convict transport for the penal colony in New South Wales, where he faces new challenges.
This is the sixth novel that charts the next step in Kydd’s inexorable rise to high command in His Majesty’s navy. Though well written and researched, the book does not compare well with the Hornblower and Bolitho series. The action scenes were credible, but I found the main characters insubstantial and rather predictable. Fans of Mr Stockwin will enjoy this book, and will no doubt sign on for further adventures. For me one voyage was sufficient. Disappointing.