In 1800 Bonaparte has been in power for some weeks. France and Britain are at war, and from the Île de France, now Mauritius, Surcouf devastates the trade of the East India Trading Company. Despite this, France boasts of being the enlightened republic of scholars and scientists, while Britain prides itself on not waging war on science.
Furthermore, when Bonaparte sends a scientific naval expedition, commanded by Captain Baudin, to explore and map the far-off coasts of New Holland, now Australia, Britain is in favour, but nevertheless sends its own expedition in pursuit, commanded by Captain Matthew Flinders.
Spy, collision with enemy ships and rivalries will intersect this extraordinary expedition, full of twists and turns.