It was an age of empire, an age of contrast, and an age of dramatic change - and one which would determine the destinies of nations as well as of men. Captain Philip Blackwood of the Royal Marines rejoins his ship, HMS Audacious, in August of 1850, anxious to get back into action. "Per Mare - Per Terram" is the marines' motto. In the torturous heat of Africa, where they are sent to stamp out the remaining strongholds of slavery, and later, in the bitter war of the Crimea, Philip Blackwood and his men learn to obey it without question. The first novel in an enthralling and colourful saga, spanning 150 years in the history of a great seafaring family and the tradition in which they served, Badge of Glory is a stunning new departure for one of Britain's master storytellers.