In 1827 Captain Sir Laughton Peto, recently engaged to Matthew Hervey's sister, Elizabeth, has just taken command of HMS Prince Rupert. But his passage to the Ionian Sea, where Admiral Codrington is assembling an Anglo-Russian-French fleet to evict the Turks from Greek waters, will not be smooth sailing. First he must exercise his crew. He has also been entrusted with the safe passage to Malta of the Admiral's youngest daughter. Six months on, Matthew Hervey is in London recovering from another bout of malaria and the wound from his battle with the Zulu. All is set fair for his marriage to Lady Lankester, but trouble lies ahead as family commitments clash with affairs of the heart.