The books starts off with a young Grammar-School boy being introduced to the local tailor, who is also a bit of a linguist. Our hero, and his friend Halliday, learn Arabic with the tailor. This turns out later on to have been very fortunate. Our hero and his friend are taken on as midshipmen on a frigate, where they are well trained. They spend three years at sea, and have the chance of visiting various ports in the Eastern Mediterranean, and also of getting to Cairo.
However their next appointment is to the Viper, a brig which is barely stable. They almost upset on one occasion, and then really do sink when off the coast of Africa. Our friends and a couple of other seamen are lucky enough to have got off on a simple raft, though all the rest of the crew perish. Hungry and thirsty they find themselves on a sandbank at a considerable distance from the mainland. And it is at this point that their adventures really begin.
Author: W. H. G. Kingston
Title: Saved from the Sea, The Loss of the Viper
First Published by: Thomas Nelson and Sons