New Zealand, January 1873, in a sparsely populated coastal community on Wellington's south coast, the peaceful lives of Owhiro Bay residents were shattered with the discovery of two brutal and senseless murders.
Under cover of darkness the Russian warship, Petropavlovsk, crept unseen into the quiet bay and sent six men ashore - all veteran English speaking Marines. Their mission, to covertly gather vital information on Wellington's defences and rendezvous with the ship three days later. It all went wrong when one Marine of the landing screening force, deliberately shoots and kills two innocent teenagers. Determined to complete their mission, the Russians stop at nothing to reach their objective.
Veteran soldier and local Constable, Sergeant Moana Rangitira of the Armed Constabulary, investigates the murders, which leads him in frantic pursuit of the Russians through the streets of Wellington. The trail leads northwards where he encounters smugglers, and his violent past as a Forest Ranger remerges to haunt him when he is pursued by a Maori war party through Taranaki's rugged bush and wilderness. Eventually confronting the Russians in the dark waters of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, he discovers they want more than information.
What begins as a local murder investigation turns into an epic plot of global proportions. From the political agenda of England's Prime Minister, the Machiavellian son of Russia's Tsar, to the famed exploits of America's confederate ship Alabama. Intricately researched, this story uses many recorded historical events and people to weave a story of intrigue, conspiracy and greed.
Can Sergeant Rangitira, prevent the Russians from fulfilling their ultimate goal, and can he prevent Russia and England from going to war?