Ex-pirate Captain Jesamiah Acorne is in trouble. Big trouble.
All he wants is to marry his girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and live contented aboard his ship, Sea Witch. But Tiola's husband refuses to grant a divorce unless Jesamiah retrieves some barrels of indigo and smuggle them out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The Governor of Nassau wants Jesamiah to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants him to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves the Sea Witch for himself.
As Jesamiah's hopes for a quiet life tumble about him, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone's plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hang, draw and quarter Jesamiah if ever he sets foot there again, while the lovely widow, Señora Francesca Escudero would prefer to seduce him.
Intrigue, fights, betrayals and romantic passion follow Captain Acorne like a ship's wake – not the ingredients for a quiet life – and not Jesamiah's idea of the rules of the Pirate Code!