'A roistering war novel.' Daily Telegraph This is the third novel featuring the young naval officer, Guy Greville, met previously in The Lion's Claw and The Unquiet Gods. Now first lieutenant of Her Majesty's second-class cruiser Cressida, Greville arrives in Durban in September 1899 as tensions between the British administration of southern Africa and the independent Afrikaner, or Boer, republics of the Orange Free State and Transvaal reach breaking point. The discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand in Transvaal has shifted the power balance towards the Boers, who are arming with modern rifles and field guns from France and Germany outranging anything the small British garrison can muster. The stakes for the British empire could not be higher. Greville experiences the crisis at every level from the confidences of the British High Commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner, at Government House and the despair of the beguiling daughter of a 'Rand millionaire, to leading a section of the Naval Brigade against storms of Mauser fire after war breaks out. As with the earlier Guy Greville novels Peter Padfield combines deep research with stunning action and descriptive passages, and the book can be read on many levels, not least as new light from original sources on Alfred Milner and the decisive months of the Great Boer War.