1677 - Snatched from an Irish village by Barbary corsairs, 17 year old Hector Lynch finds himself in a bewildering world where life is cheap and only the quick- witted survive. Befriended by fellow captive Dan, they escape horrors of the slave barracks by converting to Islam; then, serving aboard a Turkish ship, their vessel is sunk at sea.
"Not much to get excited about here"
Diving for plunder in the Caribbean, Hector Lynch and his companions are spotted by a Spanish ship. Escaping capture by burning the vessel's sails - an act of piracy - they head for Tortuga, where Hector's wife Maria awaits. He longs for a better life for them both, on the right side of the law. But the crew run into Laurens de Graff - a renowned mercenary captain now in command of a royal French frigate - and after fleeing his clutches, they are cast away on a tiny desert island, Salt Tortuga.
Sailing across the Caribbean Hector Lynch falls into the hands of the notorious buccaneer, Captain John Coxon. Hector’s friends, Dan and Jacques, are released when Coxon mistakes Hector for the nephew of Sir Thomas Lynch, the Governor of Jamaica. But when Coxon delivers Hector to Sir Henry Morgan, the Governor’s bitter enemy, he is publicly humiliated when it is revealed that Hector is not Sir Thomas’s nephew.
Hector Lynch's quest for the young Spanish woman, Maria, takes him on a nightmare passage around Cape Horn where they come across a warship, her only crew two skeleton. One corpse is the brother of a local Spanish govenor in Peru who, in gratitude for learning his brother's fate, tells Hector that Maria is in the Thief Islands. There Hector allies himself with the Chamorro to launch a raid on the Spanish fort.