Jack Monkman and his friends all have good reason for wanting to leave Stonington, Connecticut. Some are adventurous, others like 16-year-old Jack are poor and have no prospects in their home town. The starlit night of 1821 when Indigo Davers leads them to the Squire finds them all willing to set sail at once with a cargo of arms for Bolivar, who is fighting to free Venezuela from the Spanish. There is treachery on the high seas. Jack is forced to kill the captain and take command himself. From that point the adventure rises to higher and higher pitch: storms at sea, running the Spanish blockade, freeing their countrymen from a Spanish dungeon, the excruciating toil of taking arms to Bolivar's army as it marches over the Andes, battles, stranglings, pirate silver, nightmare deaths. The story is at its best at sea and in the daring escapades, reminiscent of Captain Hornblower. The last chapters cram in too much about Bolivar's epic struggles with the Spanish; although interesting they are anticlimactic. Good characterizations, fascinating detail on the period's customs and thinking, and a fine narrative style contribute to the pleasure young readers, especially boys, will find in this book.