January 1970, and the final chapter in the Blackwood history appears to have closed with the murder in Cyprus of Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Blackwood, and the subsequent sale of the ancestral home. Disillusioned and grieving for his distinguished father, Lieutenant Ross Blackwood believes there is no future for him in the Corps. The Royal Marines have been reduced in strength, and their role in a modern world, after so splendid a tradition, diminished to policing and paperwork. But Ross remains a Blackwood and a Royal Marine, and the loyalty and dedication of a Blackwood to the Corps sustain him from vicious guerilla warfare in Malaysia through the moral and political minefields of Northern Ireland, where one man's terrorist is another's patriot, to the South Atlantic, and a conflict as bloody as it is unpredictable. And he learns, as every Blackwood has before him, that jungle or moor, insurrection or invasion, mere courage is not enough. Survival and victory balance on the knife edge of destiny.