When first met in 1786 in the Bashee Islands, Rodrigo Alvarez is 14 and he signs on as carpenter with an English adventurer, Captain John Meares, whose objective is the northwest coast of America and the lure of the sea otter trade. In the succession of high, wide and not always handsome adventures to follow, Rodrigo is left for dead by Meares, restored to health by the Indians, in league with the Spanish against the British. He goes across Mexico by mule; next to Portugal, then London where he is shanghaied aboard a whaler. Finally he is back in Friendly Cove- still in dispute by both the Spanish and British. By this time Rodrigo is 20, and the reader, if he is not confused by the quick change artistry of scenes and characters, will have had a real ride for the money. Boys of any age should enjoy it for what it is- superficial but lavish adventure.