The Hyperion sets sail with an untrained crew for blockade duty off France. Bolitho's superior, Commodore Mathias Pelham-Martin, is an incompetent egotist whose petty hostilities jeopardise the operation of an entire fleet..
Alexander Kent, pen name of Douglas Edward Reeman, joined the British Navy at 16, serving on destroyers and small craft during World War II, and eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant. He has taught navigation to yachtsmen and has served as a script adviser for television and films. His books have been translated into nearly two dozen languages.