As the great powers of Europe fight over the spoils of slavery, corruption and greed, the golden age of piracy is born. Sold by his father as a child for four guineas, captain's servant Patrick Devlin knows how cheap a man's life can be. But his instinct for survival is strong, and when his master's ship is sunk by pirates, Devlin makes his choice - to trade his servile existence for a life of dangerous liberty. As he learns to adapt to his brutal new world, he watches men who would once have been his masters fall dead at his feet. Eventually, he finds himself captain of the very ship that took down the vessel of the man he once served - Captain John Coxon - who, disgraced and dissatisfied, hungers to return to the sea and take his revenge. And when His Majesty's Government and the East India Company hear of the Pirate Devlin, and that he is in pursuit of a secret French cargo of gold bullion, it is Coxon they send to bring his former dog to heel.