A swiftly paced story of escape from the Philippines during the early months of World War II has the feeling that it could have been based on an actual incident or at least one very much like it. The hero, Ben Scott, is only 16 but logically enough for this story, he is allowed to join the Navy in Manila when the authorities hear that his father, a submarine captain, is presumed lost. His first duty is the relatively simple yet extremely important task of guarding a certain Dr. Benson for a day, until he and his valuable botanical information can be evacuated before the Japanese capture him. But Dr. Benson, less judicious about people than about plants, has hired a ""faithful"" Japanese assistant who, when he proves to be a military spy, upsets things. Now left on their own, Ben and Dr. Benson must make their way from refuge in a week-long trek of hiding, running and evading, until another submarine rendezvous can be planned. Their flight and pursuit make a tight narrative in which much of the Philippines is described and the safe end of which brings reunion with Hen's father.