Though the battle at Derna, fought by a handful of Americans and, Arabsto free the Mediterranean from piracy, had an unfortunate aftermath, the events leading up to it make a brave chapter in American history. They are told here through young Zed, a protege of William Eaton, the consul to Tunis, who was most deeply involved in the efforts to stop the tribute system. As a midshipman, Zed goes to Tunis where Eaton makes plans to help Hamet, friendly to the U. S., regain power over his brother. Eaton and his small contingent of Marines go to the desert to find Hamet and return with the Arabs to do battle, Zed having his share in the victory. Washington's failure to follow through on negotiations, and Eaton's unhappiness, are not part of the book- which stops at the height of the famous victory.