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The Newest Upstart Among France’s Generals

The year is 1799. The year before, Napoleon Bonaparte, the newest upstart among Republican France’s generals, led a large expeditionary force across the Mediterranean to conquer Egypt, where he remains. Well enough; but why? France’s enemies are in Europe, not Africa. Egypt, the fabled land of the Pharoahs, is of no earthly use to this young Napoleon. Or is it? Could it be that Egypt is intended only as a stepping stone for an invasion of Britain’s troubled colonies in India? Incredible though it seems, such a threat could deprive England of the great source of its wealth and devastate her ability to continue the war against her revolutionary enemy.

Charles Edgemont, newly appointed Captain of the Frigate Cassandra, 32, is ordered on what he initially considers a fool’s errand to the foot of the Red Sea. He finds an under-strength crew on the point of mutiny, and an unresolved murder. Near the entrance to the Red Sea, Charles reports to Admiral Sir John Blankett. Blanket is openly contemptuous of any notion that the French would even consider transiting the sea or make any other attempt to invade the subcontinent.

Admiral Blankett is wrong.

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