It's the 1890s and Royal Navy Lieutenant St Vincent Halfhyde finds himself out of favor with the Navy and on half-pay ashore when he is summoned to the Admiralty. His mission: to sail to the Bight of Benin in West Africa and spy on the not-so-secret Russian presence there. As a Russian speaker who is familiar with Benin, Halfhyde is confident he's the man for the job--until he runs into Admiral Prince Gorsinski, cousin of the Czar and Halfhyde's former jailer.
"Halfhyde is a fine hero, insubordinate and ingenious." -- The New York Times "Much derringdo ... McCutchan is to be congratulated... He is writing about a stirring period that has been sadly neglected." -- Houston Post