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With a ship to call his own at last, Royal Navy Lieutenant St Vincent Halfhyde sails for the Dardanelles in command of the little torpedo-boat Vendetta, part of a flotilla sent to rescue a Britsih sailing-ship unlawfully detained by the Russians. Unfortunately, Halfhyde's first command comes complete with a pompous flotilla captain in love with his own voice, and the looming threat of the irascible Admiral Prince Gorsinski. Cutting out the sailing-ship from amidst the Russian fleet and sneaking her back through the Narrows under the deadly batteries of the Turks and the Russians is the easy part. Facing Gorsinski's vengeance and the legendary wrath of the Romanovs is another matter!