John Trenchard, a 15-year-old, becomes involved with a gang of smugglers, flees with their leader and finds a valuable diamond. Attempting to retrieve this diamond from a jeweller who has duped them, they are arrested and spend 10 years in hard labour. They finally return to Moonfleet by way of a shipwreck.

Set in the 18th century, this is a tale in the mould of Stevenson or Scott: Trenchard, the 1st person protagonist, grows up suddenly while overcoming dangers, helped by the bottomless charity of his friend and protector Elziver who finally gives his life to save John from the shipwreck. You have to stomach a certain amount of anti-Catholic sentiment, but one assumes that the author was simply reflecting the attitudes of people of the time, and had no malice.

Tim Golden is a computer programmer living in London.  He is also the editor of the Good-to-Read website.