1811. The Adriatic, the ‘French Lake’, is now the most valuable territory Napoleon Bonaparte possesses. Captain Sir Thomas Kydd finds his glorious return to England cut short when the Admiralty summons him to lead a squadron of frigates into these waters to cause havoc and distress to the enemy.
Kydd is dubbed ‘The Sea Devil’ by Bonaparte who personally appoints one of his favourites, Dubourdieu, along with a fleet that greatly outweighs the British, to rid him of this menace.
At the same time, Nicholas Renzi is sent to Austria on a secret mission to sound out the devious arch-statesman, Count Metternich. His meetings reveal a deadly plan by Bonaparte that threatens the whole balance of power in Europe. The only thing that can stop it is a decisive action at sea. He must somehow send a message to Kydd telling him to engage the French Adriatic fleet. But how, when his every move is watched by hostile spies? Enter his wife and Kydd’s sister, Cecilia. Renzi and she hatch a daring plan that will take her across the winter Alps to Kydd with the message: ‘Destroy Dubourdieu’.
Kydd faces his enemy with impossible odds stacked against him. Can he shatter Bonaparte’s dreams of breaking out of Europe and marching to the gates of India and Asia?