The Mediterranean, 1571. For hundreds of years the Ottoman Empire has ruled the seas. But the seas are only a gateway to the lands they covet beyond.The armies of the Turk are picking off colonies and small islands, and if the Mediterranean falls, then finally perhaps the balance of power between crescent and cross will tip...It has been a momentous summer - armies assembling, Cyprus besieged and men flayed alive, their bodies displayed as trophies on opposing galleys. Now, as the sun rises on one October day, history will be written in blood. Five hours will shape history. Countries all over western Europe have sent ships and men. Caught up in it are Hodge and Ingoldsby - two young English adventurers who have survived the siege of Malta and are already living on borrowed time. Now, it seems the debt must be repaid.