31st December 1942. In the middle of the North Atlantic, the deadly 'gap' where aircraft cannot protect them, a destroyer and 4 corvettes are shepherding a convoy of ships from America to Britain. But as midnight passes, the New Year is marked by a white flash on the horizon - a German torpedo. What follows is a night scarred forever in the memory of its survivors. But for Michael Villiers, officer on the HMS Daisy, it is just another chapter in an extraordinary life. The son of a beautiful socialite and a British diplomat, Michael is brought up in Sombreado, Uruguay alongside his guardian's daughter Maria, and the pair are inseparable. Even when he is sent to school in England, the family ranch remains Michael's home and when his schooling is complete, there is never any doubt that he will return to Sombreado, to Maria. But when Michael returns to Montevideo in 1939, his steamer crosses paths with a German warship - an ominous sign of the conflict to come. And though Uruguay is neutral in the coming conflict, Michael is to be allowed no such luxury: the British Legation want him to make the most of his family connections. In a war, the English ambassador explains, everyone has to take sides . . .