From the back cover:
"In 1941, after 2 years of war, Britain stood alone, sustained only be the courage of ordinary men and women who knew too well the price of submission to a ruthless and efficient enemy.
For the residents and defence forces of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong however, the war in Europe seemed remote. Germany posed no threat to their isolated colonial existence, and Japan, already fighting the Chinese nationalists, was not expected to risk hostilities with Britain.
Into this unreal atmosphere of carefree optimism comes H.M.S. Serpent and her captain Lieutenant-Commander Esmond Brooke. At 29, Brooke has seen too much of war not to recognise that an attack by Japan is inevitable, and that in the folly and incompetence of Hong Kong's administration lie the seeds of the colony's surrender."