Privateering Captain Garret Connachan, female protagonist, has navigated the most challenging of men's worlds since joining Drake as a young midshipman (Pyrate Rising). Queen Elizabeth befriended her but their relationship turned sour when she failed to execute her assassination mission (Pyrate Assassin). Taking refuge on pirate-infested Isla Tortuga, Garret now finds herself mired in a complex scheme by her archenemy-De Graaf, the most feared pirate captain in the South Seas. De Graaf has teamed up with a shadowy Cartagenian financier in a ransom scheme designed to defraud King Philip II of Spain, generating tens of thousands of gold doubloons. With the help of a stealthy outsider, Connachan learns she is to be fingered by De Graaf and his accomplice as the perpetrator of the crime.
As word of a possible scheme leaks out, the thirst for gold treasure brings many players to the table-political, piratical, financial, military leaders and freedom-seekers. The plot is replete with intrigue and deception.
A series of events leave Garret and her potential love interest, William Tovery, facing a pressing need to cross over from privateering to pure piracy, setting her up as a high priority target of both the Spanish and the English.