In the late 18th Century life was cheap and you had fight to survive. Martin Stockley at 12 years old was underfed and undersized as the youngest of nine in a Dorset clay miner's family and was probably doomed to die, worn out and broken at a very young age in the clay mines of Dorset.
But he had a sharp mind, had learned to read, write and do his numbers and had a fascination for maps. A stroke of good fortune sees him escape that destiny and be taken on as a Ship's Boy and Under Steward to the Captain in the Royal Navy Frigate the Falcon.
What follows is a chronicle of his talent for getting into and out of trouble at Gibraltar, the siege of Toulon and against Barbary pirates. Luck and a lot of Dorset courage sees him at the centre of a series of adventures. Blood, guts, a beautiful Contessa and prize money.
What more could a young lad from Dorset ask for?