After committing a crime anyone but a close relative might forgive, Karli Mortdecai Van Cleef leaves Holland double-quick with his uncle's buckshot lodged firmly in the seat of his breeches. Discretion being the least-idiotic part of valour he decides to hide far away in London, among the tea shops and opium dens. On savouring these Easter delicacies and knowing an opportunity when he sups upon one, young Karli throws in his lot with an opium clipper bound for China's high seas.
Life on the ocean waves, however, is full of perils for an officer and his sensitive digestive tract: mountainous seas, an encounter with a malodorous slave ship, the captain's wife's pulse-racingly brief wardrobe, several hordes of pirates, mutiny, the ship's cook's fondness for curry - to name but a few.
'All The Tea In China' is a swaggering, rip-snorting, buckler-swashing tale about one of the men who - for a reasonable fee - made Britain great.