John Pearce, having negotiated the highly questionable sale of the two French prizes taken in The Devil to Pay, has left HMS Flirt, as well as the crew and the wounded Henry Digby in Brindisi and is headed for Naples to see his lover.
In an uncomfortable journey he seeks to work out a way to best both Admiral Sir William Hotham and Captain Ralph Barclay, men who are his sworn enemies. All his calculations are thrown into turmoil when he discovers that Emily is pregnant which, while it is a cause for joy, is also a reason to worry; she is still married to Ralph Barclay and by the laws of the time he can claim the child as his own.
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