Unicorn is sent into the troubled waters of the Adriatic. His mission: to scourge the sea of pirates and turn the Serene Republic of Venice against Revolutionary France.
But Nathan is soon drawn into a much more sinister web. At its heart two of the most feared women of the age: Emma Hamilton, the courtesan turned courtier, and the nun Caterina Caresini, uncrowned queen of Venice. And--most feared of all--the mysterious agent of the Three Inquisitors, known as Il Diavolo, the Devil.
As Nathan confronts the politics of "intrigue, poison and the stiletto," he plays a deadly game with the ambitious young general Napoleon Bonaparte. In a bid to save the British fleet, Nathan joins forces with Horatio Nelson for a dramatic breakout from the Mediterranean and a perilous battle off Cape Saint Vincent that could change the very course of the war.
Praise for the Nathan Peake series--
"[Hunter] delivers another slick nautical adventure in the Patrick O'Brian tradition . . . The rousing naval battles, twisty plot, and muscular prose lift Hunter's nautical yarn a few notches above the competition." --Publishers Weekly
"A compelling read, imaginative, knowledgeable, fast moving . . . full of twists and turns." --Naval Review
Singapore, November 1941: Lieutenant Ralph Trewin, a proud recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, arrives at Singapore as second-in-command of the shallow-draught gunboat, H.M.S. Porcupine. To Trewin, still shocked from wounds received during the evacuation of Crete, the gunboat and her five elderly consorts symbolise the ignorance and blind optimism he finds in Singapore. And the captain of the Porcupineis as unwilling as the rest to take heed of Trewin's alarm, for to him the gunboat represents his last chance.
One month later the Japanese invade Malaya and three months after that Singapore, the "Gibraltar of the Far East"--a British rock that could not be taken--knows the humiliation of surrender. Through the misery and despair of this bloody campaign Trewin and his captain are forced to draw on each other's beliefs and weaknesses, and together they weld the little gunboat into a symbol of bravery and pride.