In this seventh book of the series, Thomas Kydd is master of his own brig-sloop Teazer and he must race the clock to make her battle-ready to defend Malta against Barbary pirates and the French, who are frantically trying to rescue the remnants of their army in the Levant. Suddenly, peace is declared, and the young captain finds himself ashore. To make ends meet, he agrees to transport convicts to Australia. Little does he know that his friend Renzi, weakened by illness and embittered with the service, is also bound for that colony as a settler. There they will be forced to face their deepest fears and prove themselves against all odds.