It is 1667, and the mighty naval war between the Dutch and the English still rages. Sir Francis Courteney and his son Hal, in their fighting caravel, are on patrol off southern Africa, lying in wait for a treasure-laden galleon of the Dutch East India Company that is returning from the Orient. They have a letter from Charles II sanctioning them to hunt down and capture enemy ships "beyond the line".
So begins a dramatic quest for adventure and the spoils of war that sweeps the Courteneys from the settlement of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and on to the Great Horn of Ethiopia far to the north. It was a time when international maritime law permitted acts of piracy, rape, and murder otherwise punishable by death.
© Wilbur Smith; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd