The year is 1808, the story is of a three day epic fight between the sailing frigates San Fiorenzo and the Piemontaise. Based on an actual historical event, enriched by the author's knowledge of ships and the sea.

Captain Epron of the French frigate Piemontaise sailed from the Ile de France (Mauritius) bent on capturing a convoy of heavily laden East India Company merchantmen bound for Ceylon. Guarding the convoy was the elderly Royal Navy frigate San Fiorenzo under the young, inexperienced Captain Hardinge. The British ship was out gunned, out-manned, her crew weakened by malaria. For three days and three nights the ships engaged in a series of ferocious battles. As one hour followed the next, the advantage. like the sea, changed constantly. In a test of wills both captains employed brilliant tactics and made devastating mistakes and both ships fought gallantly until the tolls of combat brought humiliating defeat to one and victory to the other.