Henry Sharpe is a recently bereaved and bankrupt English earl who travels to the Caribbean to help his uncle run his sugar plantation. When he arrives, he finds his uncle has given up on that idea to lead a more exciting life as a privateer.
With no money and no prospects, Sharpe has little choice but to join him, although he is uncomfortable with the life he is living, especially when he meets the indomitable and infamous Henry Morgan and is forced to sail under his orders.
He is more likely to rescue the doomed souls he meets than terrorize them, which leads to repeated conflict with his fellow privateers, especially when he takes the kidnapped Magdalena under his protection.
Battling ships and the Spanish fortifications protecting Porto Belo, Sharpe finds his deadliest feuds are those aboard his own ship. Trapped in the middle of the rivalry between his uncle, Captain Richard Tarr, and Captain Edward Hornigold, Sharpe makes more enemies on deck, in particular the formidable yet sly Cheval.
He is pushed to his limits as he fights for his own survival and that of the woman he loves, knowing the odds are stacked high against him.