John Pearce is going home. But he has to avoid capture by an Algerine warship, having his Pelicans pressed into a British frigate and that's before they are at risk of being hanged for desertion once home. Then there is the problem of Emily Barclay and their son Adam. By cunning and bluff he protects his friends, but not his troubled love life. In a whirlwind of action, there are forged wills, devious trades, contrived murders and dangerous spy missions, with so much deceit that Pearce does not know who to trust. All he can hope to do is survive.