1796: John Pearce is stuck with a difficult mission, a raw crew of Quota Men forced to enlist in the Royal Navy, four brand new midshipmen as well as Samuel Oliphant, companion cum spy, whom he finds a constant irritant. In his favour he commands HMS Hazard, a sound and speedy warship, a pair of competent officers and, of course, his trusty old friends the Pelicans.Their primary mission is to head for the Mediterranean Fleet and warn Admiral Sir John Jervis of impending danger he will face, fighting a combined French/Spanish fleet. But there is a serious distraction, the imminent arrival of a Spanish vessel from South America carrying silver, for which they Spaniards are waiting before declaring war. Stop that and they will lack the funds to truly engage as an enemy of Britannia, but it is a distraction from his main task and specific orders. Can John Pearce resist the lure of such a valuable capture and risk his ship in a dangerous battle to gain it, or will his duty come first?
David Donachie, the author of the John Pearce naval adventures, was born in Edinburgh in 1944. He has always had an abiding interest in the naval history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and, has published a number of historical adventure novels. David lives in Deal on the English Channel with his partner, the novelist Sarah Grazebrook.