The tenth Richard Bolitho novel in Alexander Kent's spectacularly successful series deals with Bolitho's life as a young lieutenant aboard the Trojan, an eighty-gun ship of the line.
The year is 1777 when the revolution in America has erupted into a full-scale war. The navy's main task is to prevent military supplies from reaching Washington's armies and to destroy the fast-growing fleet of French and American privateers. As a junior officer Bolitho is often bewildered by swiftly changing events, but in a ship of the line, under a hard and determined captain, he has little opportunity for uncertainty. At a time of shortages and sudden death even a lieutenant can find himself faced with tasks and decisions more suitably given to officers of greater experience - and as the Trojan goes about her affairs the threat to Bolitho and his companions makes itself felt from New York to the Caribbean.