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Set in 1909, this story tells of the first (purely fictional) submarine race in Portugal, as boats from Portugal, some former colonies, and from their allies, compete to win a royal contract to build boats for the Portuguese navy.

Cristiano Tavares has wanted to build boats since he was a child in his father’s workshop. Now he’s built a submarine of his own design,  and he’s about to embark on the boat’s maiden voyage, hoping to snag that contract for the Tavares Boatworks and the Golden City.

Emilia Atkinson is the half-Portuguese daughter of one of the city’s winery owners, but she doesn’t share her family’s interest in wines. Instead she attended the university at Coimbra to study mathematics. She was relieved when the Tavares boatworks hired her–likely because she knew Cristiano at the university–but since then she’s done her best to prove to the Tavares family that they didn’t make a mistake in hiring a woman.

Now she’s going on her first underwater sea voyage as the new boat’s navigator, working with Diamantina Athahyde, a sereia, to pilot the boat along the coast of Portugal.

All they have to do is stay alive. And win the race.