After Yellow Fever decimated the crew of Alan Lewrie's HMS Proteus, it had seemed like a knacky idea to abscond with a dozen slaves from a Jamaican plantation to help man his frigate. But two years later, Lewrie is now suspected of the deed. Slave-stealing is a hanging offense, and suddenly his neck is at risk of a fatal stretching.
Once Lewrie has escaped, the master Foreign Office spy, Zachariah Twigg, arranges for a long voyage even further out of the law's reach, to Cape Town and India, as escort to an East India Company convoy. At the Cape of Good Hope a British circus and theatrical troupe also joins the party, teeming with tempting female acrobats, nubile bareback riders, and alluring "actresses" like the seductive but deadly archer Eudoxia Durschenko.
It will take all Lewrie's shrewd guile, wit, and steely self-control to worm his way out of trouble, and keep his breeches chastely buttoned to avoid even more troubles . . . or will he?
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