It is said that a man is grown by his past, and so it was with William Brewer. Before he took command of HMS Defiant in a hurricane and before he hunted pirates in HMS Revenge, Brewer endured a crucible of fire that molded him into the legend he became. Fresh from the tutelage of Napoleon Bonaparte on St. Helena, Brewer signs on for a cruise under Captain Bush in HMS Lydia to the Mediterranean to battle the Barbary Pirates. Here Brewer learns to fight, but he also learns what it means to command men in battle and what it takes to order men to their deaths. Their enemy is a Scottish renegade who is responsible for the deaths of dozens of his fellow sailors over the years and the selling of hundreds of Europeans into African slavery. Along the way, Brewer is introduced to new heroes and new devils. He also receives sage advice from no less than the Duke of Wellington himself. In the end, Brewer has to use all he’s learned – not to mention going beyond all that – to save HMS Lydia from total destruction at the hands of pirates.