A swashbuckling, patriotic tale of romance, villainy and adventure on the high seas, written by American author Winston Churchill (not to be confused with British statesman Winston S. Churchill), Richard Carvel was a publishing phenomenon in its time, selling more than 2 million copies in a nation of 76 million people.
The story opens around 1765 with young Richard Carvel, an orphaned descendant of English nobility, living on his grandfather's estate in colonial Annapolis, Maryland. He witnesses growing discontent with the rule of King George III and observes the transformation of his childhood playmate, Dorothy Manners, into a celebrated debutante.
Richard's treacherous uncle Grafton, determined to claim his inheritance, plots to have him kidnapped by pirates bound for the West Indies. After Richard is rescued by Scottish sea captain John Paul, he arrives in England and meets some of its most influential noblemen - gaining an inside view of the tyranny and corruption against which his fellow Colonials were prepared to rebel.
Upon learning that his grandfather has died and his uncle has claimed his inheritance, Richard returns to Maryland, where he joins the struggle for American independence. He participates in one of the Revolution's greatest sea battles alongside the captain who had once rescued him -- now known as John Paul Jones. He also fights to regain his inheritance and win the hand of his beloved Dorothy.