Alan Lewrie is a scandalous young rake whose amorous adventures ashore lead to his being shipped off to the Navy. Lewrie finds that he is a born sailor, although life at sea is a stark contrast to the London social whirl to which he had become accustomed. As his career advances, he finds the life of a naval officer suits him. In The French Admiral, we join Lewrie at the siege of Yorktown, near the end of the Revolutionary War. Pounded by the American forces on land and the deadly warships of their French allies at sea, the once-proud city is aflame and near ruin. The Royal Navy, with heavily-armed frigates, is posed to break through the French blockade. Aboard HMS Desperate, Midshipman Alan Lewrie sets his gunners to their lethal work firing broadsides of 24-pounder shot at the enemy vessels.