Born at sea and raised in early nineteenth-century New Zealand, strong-willed Abigail Sherman is the daughter of the American owner of a shore-whaling station. Trouble with the English authorities prompts Captain Sherman to set Abigail on board a ship bound for Massachusetts, at the start of a series of hair-raising adventures that shifts from vicious mutinies to storms off Cape Horn, to encounters with militant women's rightists, to a murder trial in New Bedford.
Teased by a cryptic riddle that promises a fortune, and shocked by news of her father's brutal assassination, Abigail escapes her puritanical relatives and heads back to New Zealand, determined to claim the ship that is her rightful inheritance. It is a turbulent expedition, in which she crosses paths with gamblers, fortune-hunters, and opportunistic whaling captains, and survives the savage jungles of Panama and the dangerous alleyways of the ports of Chile and Peru, finally to meet the ultimate challenge of treachery in the South Pacific.
Here, Joan Druett, the author of twelve popular maritime books, has created a novel of compulsive readability. Superbly researched, the story of Abigail confirms the reputation of a widely acclaimed spinner of tales of the sea.