It is 1793, and France and Britain are at war. Traumatised and grieving the loss of her infant son, Eleanor Buccleuch leaves behind her previous life, dons waistcoat and breeches, and becomes Ned Buckley. Ned enlists in the British army and vanishes amongst the soldiers of the 69th Regiment of Foot. Sent to the Mediterranean, Ned is pulled out of his squad and assigned to work with a zealous Royal Navy captain named Horatio Nelson, who is goading the army to besiege the Corsican town of Bastia. Ned becomes a participant in momentous events of victory and defeat, forming an unlikely friendship with the man who will one day become Britain's greatest naval hero. But even as he witnesses Nelson's trajectory towards immortality, Ned's past is stalking him, threatening him with a downward slide into discovery, ignominy, and the prospect of his own destruction.