It is February, 1806. The frigate carrying Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho drops anchor off the shores of southern Africa. It is only four months since the resounding victory over the combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, and the death of England's greatest naval hero. Bolitho's instructions are to assist in hastening the campaign in Africa, where an expeditionary force is attempting to recapture Cape Town from the Dutch. Outside Europe few have yet heard of the battle of Trafalgar, and Bolitho's news is met with both optimism and disappointment as he reminds the senior officers that, despite the victory, Napolean's defeat is by no means assured. The men who follow Bolitho's flag into battle are to discover, not for the first time, that death is the only victor.