The tale of a 12-year-old boy who falls in with smugglers. Jim, an orphan, is sent to live with relatives along the Devon coast. There he accidentally witnesses the deeds of a troop of night-riders, or smugglers, and becomes caught up in their shadowy, dangerous world of excise men, sea caves and illicit cargo. The adventure takes the boy to sea against his will, where he faces hurdle after hurdle. From a skirmish with a British frigate to a nightmarish chase on horseback to run-ins with soldiers and gypsies, the plot stays rip-roaring, and the atmospheric prose supplies a polished, literary veneer.
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