ornblower captures the French vessel, Le Reve, and is asked by Pellew to sail her back to England so that she can be outfitted for the English navy, and also, as a favor, to convey the unusual Duchess of Wharfedale back home. Unfortunately, Le Reve, Hornblower, the duchess and the crew are captured by the Spanish and imprisoned. There, Horatio finds Kennedy, wasted and hopeless from months in solitary. Against the odds, Horatio must find a way to escape with Kennedy, against Hunter's protests, and with the growing suspicion that the duchess may not be who she appears.

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