Lieutenant John Pearce is in London seeking protection for his friends, the Pelicans, from a reluctant Admiralty. Sitting in the tavern where they were first press ganged, Pearce considers his future. Lacking the evidence of perjury he once had to bring to justice Captain Ralph Barclay, his prospects are not promising. Ralph Barclay’s young wife, Emily, is refusing to live under the same roof as him and she has the means to get her own way: the evidence Pearce believes lost at sea. Pearce’s companions finally arrive in London just in time to join Pearce in fetching a ship laden with contraband back from France, an illegal act but very profitable. Are Pearce and his Pelicans sailing into prosperity – or danger?