The year is 1774 and Bolitho is now a newly appointed third lieutenant joining the 28-gun frigate Destiny at Plymouth. It is a far step from midshipman's berth to wardroom - and at a time when most of the fleet is laid up Bolitho is considered fortunate.
Bolitho's promotion is tinged by personal sadness, but his new captain soon points out that Bolitho's loyalty is to him, the ship and His Britannic Majesty - in that order. Despatched on a secret mission far south to Rio and then to the Caribbean, Destiny and her company face the hazards of conspiracy, treason and piracy - and, as the little ship sails on, Bolitho has to learn amid broadside battles at sea and the clash of swords in hand-to-hand actions how to accept his new responsibilities as a King's officer.
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