The year is 1667. Sir Francis Courtney and his son Hal are on patrol in their fighting caravel off the Agulhas Cape of South Africa. They are lying in wait for one of the treasure-laden galleons of the Dutch East India Company returning from the Orient. so begins a quest for adventure and the spoils of war that sweeps them from the settlement of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa to the Great Horn of Ethiopia far to the north - at a time when international maritime law permitted acts of piracy, rape, and murder otherwise punishable by death. Wilbur Smith introduces a generation of the indomitable Courtneys and thrillingly re-creates their part in the struggle for supremacy and riches on the high seas.