The year is 1863. The Civil War is leaving its bloody trail across the nation as Peter Wake, born and bred in the snowy North, joins the U.S. Navy as a volunteer officer and arrives in steamy Florida for duty with the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. The idealistic Peter Wake has handled boats before, but he's new to the politics and illicit liaisons that war creates among men. Assigned to the Rosalie, a tiny, armed sloop, Captain Wake commands a group of seasoned seamen on a series of voyages to seek and arrest Confederate blockade-runners and sympathizers, from Florida's coastal waters through to near the remote out-islands of the Bahamas.
Wake risks his reputation when he falls in love with Linda Donahue, whose father is a Confederate zealot, and steals away to spend precious hours with her at her Key West home. Their love is tested as Wake learns he must make the ugly decisions of war even in a beautiful, tropical paradise--decisions that take him up to the edge of honor.