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How George Saint Leger returned from foreign parts. The time was mid-­afternoon, the date was January the 9th, in the year of our Lord 1569; and the good town of Plymouth was basking in the hazy sunlight and mild temperature of one of those delightful days that occasionally visit the metropolis of the West Country, even in mid-­winter, under the beneficent influence of the Gulf Stream combined with a soft but enduring breeze from the south-­south-­east charged with warm air from the Saharan desert and the Mediterranean. So mild and genial was the weather that certain lads, imbued with that spirit of lawlessness and adventure which seems inherent in the nature of the young Briton, had conspired together to defy the authority of their schoolmaster by playing truant from afternoon school and going to bathe in Firestone Bay. And it was while these lads were dressing, after revelling in their stolen enjoyment, that their attention was attracted by the appearance of a tall ship gliding up . . .

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Young Harry does all he can to rescue the sailors who clutch the remains of the beleaguered craft being dashed to pieces by the storm. One man is rescued -- and Harry and his friends have the others within reach . . . when a torrential rush of water off the ocean snaps the ship in two, washing away the rest of the crew! And soon even the lone sailor rescued from the waves lies on his deathbed "Poor as I am,­" he says to the young man who saved him, "it is in my power to make you rich -- aye, beyond the utmost scope of your imagination! And I will! Why should I take this secret to the grave with me?­" Harry and boyhood friend Bob Trunnion soon embark on a quest -- and learn that even the clearest of treasure-­maps cannot show all the hazards and complications . . . awaiting even the hardiest and most brave of treasure-­seekers!

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