The main character of this trilogy Edmund Talbot continues on his personal journey of discovery. He manages to offend and infuriate a fair few passengers and members of the ship’s crew. Making it no secret that he disagrees with the decision to repair the mast by driving red-hot bolts through the bottom of it he clashes with those that have supported that plan.
Once the mast is held by the red hot bolts, which are meant to go cold because of the lack of oxygen, Talbot and his friend officer Summers continually express unease about the fire below but the advanced speed seems to undermine their concerns.
Meanwhile a ferocious sea attacks the boat and the boat is tossed through storm and high seas with even the sailors deciding to hide below than face the fury of the ocean.
Talbot continues to walk into arguments because of his ability to irritate people with a missed place remark here or there and he almost kills a fellow passenger who he tries to help by moving on his deathbed.
By now the story has settled into a pattern that is regulated by the conditions of the sea and the moods of the crew and passengers. Talbot seems to be spending more time reflecting on his own faults and you get hints that he will be a different man once they land.