1793: The French have killed their king and are about to embark on the violent period of bloodletting known as the Terror.
Brig-sloop Commander Nathan Peake is on smuggler patrol off the Sussex coast and desperate for some real action. As revolutionary France declares war on England, he seizes his chance. Peake is given a vital mission; to destroy the French economy by smuggling millions of French banknotes across the Channel and into the heart of Paris. His operation leads him from perilous seas to the Empire of the Dead – a labyrinth of catacombs under the French capital where bodies are buried, secrets hidden and plots hatched. But as opposition to the Terror mounts, Peake is forced to leave Paris and join the storm-tossed British squadrons in the Atlantic in the first thunderous battle between the rival navies.