If you want to write a novel about an American officer in the Continental Navy based around the facts of the War of Independence you probably have to place him with John Paul Jones on Ranger and Bonhomme Richard. However the major sea battle which decided the war at the Virginia Capes only involved the French Navy. The skill therefore is to bring these two elements together in a believable narrative. Hammond does at excellent job of this whilst at the same time exploring the difficulties of personal relationships when close friends and family, as well as the public at large, find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict with divided loyalties.
The principal character is Richard Cutler whose branch of the family live near Boston and handle the shipping side of the family business whilst other relations are based in England and the Caribbean. When his brother Will is pressed into the Royal Navy and flogged to death the War takes on a new dimension for the young Richard and he joins Ranger as a Midshipman with the aim of avenging his brother’s death.