In March 1802, the Treaty of Amiens brings an uneasy peace to Europe. While the fighting ships of the Royal Navy languish in ordinary and sailors litter the alleys and alehouses of Portsmouth, frustrated officers barrage the Admiralty for a commission.
From a beach on the Isle of Wight, Captain Oliver Quintrell observes a convoy of merchantmen preparing to set sail from St. Helen's Road. He is unaware that within days he will have command of His Majesty's frigate Elusive, which will be sailing with the fleet into the Atlantic.
With a sound ship and an able crew, the captain is confident of a safe voyage but when the ship reaches its destination there are unknown dangers and unspeakable horrors to be faced. Can Captain Quintrell retrieve the cargo he has been sent to find and return with it safely to England?