Well-oriented in 16th century Spain, and seen through the eyes of 15-year old Francisco Perez, apprentice to a gunpowder maker, are these hair-raising adventures- the result of his hero-worship of Columbus. It is the end of Columbus' third voyage and he is returned in chains, imprisoned by the king's trumped-up charge of worshipping a false god, Montezuma, whom Columbus had never seen. Francisco, and a group of young dons, including Cortes, fire a fourteen gun salute to their hero -- and Francisco is among those captured by the secret police, tortured by order of the Inquisition to confess a rescue plot. The black plague brings sudden release and they escape- with Columbus on his fourth voyage. Exciting adventures pursue young Francisco -- he is accidentally abandoned- goes through harrowing experiences- and eventually ends as a wealthy don in Santo Domingo.