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Cruise of the Esmeralda

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By: (1851-1922)

After his father died, Captain Saint Leger and his family are left destitute. However, the Saint Legers have a family secret: an ancestor is said to have buried a vast fortune in gold and jewels somewhere in the Eastern Seas. The catch: all directions are encrypted. Nevertheless, Captain Saint Leger decides to take a chance and sails east. A journey full of adventure begins, including pirates, storms and mutiny...

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The Cruise of the "Esmeralda", by Harry Collingwood.

This is a splendid book, beautifully written, with a strong nautical background. The hero's family, which had a very long nautical tradition, was a bit short of money. But there was a story told in the family that some centuries before an ancestor of his had found an abandoned vessel which turned out to have a huge amount of gold and jewels. He had buried this in a secret location on an island in the Far East, putting directions for finding it in cipher somewhere in his house in England. Our hero finds the paper with the cipher after a long search in the house, and sets off to find the fortune, though he had not yet deciphered the instructions.

All sorts of adventures occur, including being attacked by pirates, whom they get rid of in a most novel manner. Eventually our hero seems to work out how to read the cipher, in a dream, but when he awakes he can't remember how to do it. He does of course remember, and the cipher turns out to be easy to read, once you realise how many digits you need to get each character... Continue reading book >>

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