A tired old freighter, the Moonraker, is homeward bound from Freemantle to Mauritius. Haunted by his past, Captain Stone seeks solace in a gin bottle, and Italian mate Carlo Frascatti grumbles at the motley crew. Then the calm, humdrum voyage is shattered when the radio operator picks up a warning of a suspected cyclone ahead. Members of the panic-stricken crew turn on their captain and abandon ship, and so begins a desperate struggle to keep the battered hulk afloat.
As an ocean race continues, the dynamics between Martin Savage and a girl stowaway intensify. The yachtsman is driven by a compulsive obsession to win, but the girl threatens his ruin.
Togo Yashimoto, a ruthless disciplinarian steeped in the samurai tradition, is captain of the Japanese submarine I-357. John Barratt, captain of HMS Restless, is haunted by his wife’s death while a prisoner of the Japanese in Changi Jail. Two very different men whose destinies are linked in the deadly game of hide and seek they play out among the islands and atolls of the Mozambique coast.
It seemed to be just another so-called "adventure cruise" among the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean. The "adventure" being little more than the delivery of mail and stores by Captain Cassidy's coaster, Sunglow. But this was to be a very different cruise. Cyclones are almost unheard of in those seas in September, yet one engulfed the decrepit little coaster and tested passengers and crew.