Pepper gives this book its title and the trade in it is desperately fought for by young widower, Scott Rogers, whose fortune is very much still in the making. Learning the war with England is over in 1815, having a prize ship taken from him, Scott comes home to Charleston to find his wife dead and a baby son cared for by his in-laws. With the chance to head to the Orient to try for the pepper trade on Sumatra, he is off, with his own ship, his brother-in-law and Hosea Fox, of Massachusetts, as his right hands. There are storms, pirates and below deck troubles before he gets his chance to bargain with the rajahs for their stores; and there is scholarly Russell and his Spanish-American daughter, Dorcas, to save. Thwarting his brother-in-law, attempting to block Fox's treachery, and determined to bring home a proper cargo, Scott is active and busy in strange waters and ably fights his way to the success -- and the girl he wants. You've had it before.