Stephen Meader's stirring new novel for young people is a remarkable recreation of a period and, in particular, of life at sea during the Revolutionary War. It is also the story of a boy whose imagination was fired by the newly created American Navy and who eventually became a part of it.
There was plenty of work in the early days of the war for all hands at the Batsto ironworks on the Mullica River in South Jersey. Cannon and shot were being made for Washington's Continental Army, and young Gideon Jones, whose father was the ironmaster, did his share. Privateers were built and outfitted along the Mullica also—small craft to harry the coastwise shipping that carried supplies to the British in New York—and when Gid had the chance, he shipped on one of them for several voyages. Then came a big order at the ironworks for nine-pounders for the Navy's new sloop-of-war, the Saratoga. When they were ready, Gid went to Philadelphia to help deliver them and decided to sign on as a midshipman. From then on, almost to the Saratoga's dramatic end, Gid's life was given over to the struggling young Navy.
Out of Mr. Meader's friendship with William Bell Clark, an outstanding authority on the early American Navy, grew his idea to write this book, which is authentic down to the last detail. Even the names of the Saratoga's crew are real, for Mr. Meader used her actual muster rolls.
Ships and their hard-fought battles, the dull discouragements that beset the patriot cause and the occasional triumphs, all come through vividly and truly in this action-packed story by one of our leading writers whose latest book is always eagerly awaited by a multitude of admirers.