‘Peace or war, the requirements for this squadron remained unchanged. To protect, to show the flag, and to fight if necessary, to maintain that mastery of the sea which had been won with so much blood.’ On the eve of Waterloo, a sense of finality and cautious hope pervade a nation wearied by decades of war. But peace will present its own challenges to Adam Bolitho, captain of His Majesty’s Ship Unrivalled, as many of his contemporaries face the prospect of discharge. The life of a frigate captain is always lonely, but for Adam, mourning the death of his uncle Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho, that solitude acquires a deeper poignancy. He is, more than ever, alone, at the dawning of a new age for the Royal Navy, where the only constants are the sea and those enemies, often masked in the guise of friendship, who conspire to destroy him.