Thrilled at his first command, a little brig sloop called Teazer, Thomas Kydd must race to bring his ship to battle readiness - he is desperately needed to defend Malta against Barbary corsairs, ferocious privateers and the French who are frantically trying to rescue the remnants of their army in the Levant.
But his jubilation does not last long - peace is suddenly declared and Kydd is left ashore on half pay.
A rare chance gives him the opportunity to once again go to sea. He sets sail as captain of a convict transport for the penal colony in New South Wales - and challenges that will test both his seamanship and humanity to the limit.
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