The eighth Bolitho novel.
A troubled peace with France means that even a frigate captain as famous as Richard Bolitho is forced to swallow his pride and visit the Admiralty daily to plead for a ship. But, as the clouds of war begin to rise once more over the Channel, all he is offered is command of three topsail cutters in the Nore.
His task is to track down deserters, but the "Brotherhood" he comes up against are brutal and dangerous. When a King's ransom is in peril and Bolitho is ordered to proceed "with all despatch" to recover it he will need all the loyalty and courage of his three gallant cutters if he is to fulfill his mission.