1813, and Horatio Hornblower is propelled toward the heart of the French Empire and his old enemy, Napoleon . . .
Sir Horatio Hornblower has received strict and highly confidential orders from the highest rank: he must embark upon a grave and perilous mission to recapture the Flame in the Bay of Seine, where the brutal and foul-tempered Lieutenant Augustine Chadwick is being held prisoner by a mutinous crew. Rescuing the Lieutenant demands all of Horatio's spirit and seafaring prowess - for at the same time, he must contend with capturing two French cargo vessels and take part in negotiations to topple the faltering Napoleon once and for all . . .
This is the ninth of eleven books chronicling the adventures of C.S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.