In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves --
including one Jack Shaftoe, a.k.a. King of the Vagabonds,
a.k.a. Half-Cocked Jack, lately and miraculously cured of
the pox -- devises a daring plan to win freedom and
fortune. A great adventure ensues, rife with battles,
chases, hairbreadth escapes, swashbuckling, bloodletting,
and danger -- a perilous race for an enormous prize of
silver ... nay, gold ... nay, legendary gold that will
place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the
mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens,
and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the
Meanwhile, back in Europe ...
The exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur,
master of markets, pawn and confidante of enemy kings,
onetime Turkish harem virgin, is stripped of her immense
personal fortune by France's most dashing privateer.
Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or
her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of
international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the
return of her most precious possession -- her child.
Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand
theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies, stubborn
alchemy does battle with the natural sciences, nobles are
beheaded, dastardly plots are set in motion, coins are
newly minted (or not) in enemy strongholds, father and sons
reunite in faraway lands, priests rise from the dead ...
and Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts
colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his
world has descended.