1941. To the residents and defence forces of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, the war in Europe remains remote. Even the massive build-up of Japanese forces on the Chinese border cannot dent their carefree optimism. Yet one man suspects the truth. Lieutenant Commander Esmond Brooke, captain of HMS Serpent and a veteran of the cruet Atlantic, sees all too clearly the folly and incompetence of Hong Kong’s colonial administration. But, in war, there will always be some who attempt the impossible, even in the face of death.