Peter Smalley does not rest on his laurels in this latest, the fifth, in the Hayter/Rennie series. He has created a readable, interesting tale: characters we care about, a compelling story, lots of action and a window on history. James Hayter, haunted by doubts about his leadership ability and beset by tragedy at home, resigns his commission in the Royal Navy, a step he soon comes to regret. He is recruited by the shadowy agency that has already touched his life and he finds a new calling, one that gives him an opportunity to collaborate with mentor and friend, Captain William Rennie. As France reels from the Terror, Hayter and Rennie find themselves embroiled in a scheme to foil the worst excesses of the revolution. Their masters resolutely keep them in the dark and they chafe at being pawns in a game whose rules they don’t understand. Nothing is straightforward in their mission and, faced with betrayal, they wind up in a desperate fight for their lives.