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In the summer of 1779, as the major fighting of the Revolutionary War moves to the South, a British force consisting of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry and backed by three sloops-of-war sails to the fogbound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts, the Scots harry rebel privateers and shelter American loyalists. In response, the Americans send more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to "captivate, kill, or destroy" the foreign invaders. But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat that will have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides of the conflict: an untested young Scottish lieutenant named John Moore, at the beginning of an illustrious military career . . . and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who will face court-martial for disobedience and cowardice.