Part fact, part novel, this sea-going adventure story tells of a boy from Brittany who sailed- in the 1920's- on the barque the King Arthur with its daredevil owner, Captain Kersanger, and the Captain's mistress, an Irish Countess. The voyage, unknown to the boy, involves a half-formed scheme for a Pan-Celtic Empire of Brittany, Wales, Ireland and other Celtic minorities. What the boy sees is a bitter battle over some channel islands; Ireland's poverty, just after its separation from England; ideas- in a priest and a writer; and his own coming of age during a hectic affair with the Countess. The expedition, smuggling guns back to Brittany, comes to a disastrous end on the beaches and in the law courts. Against a full montage of picaresque experience, this tells the story of a young man's growing up- to re-examine and understand the one great action of his life. It is a book full of adventure, humor and retrospective thought.