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A cabin boy on a pirate ship finds himself in San Diego in 1846 as war breaks out between the United States and Mexico. A swashbuckling pirate ship cuts through the early morning fog. Crouching like a tiger about to spring, her figurehead is a huge and ferocious rat with crooked teeth and gouged-out eyes. When the daring Giant Rat of Sumatra drops anchor in San Diego, twelve-year-old cabin boy Shipwreck only wants to begin his long journey home to Boston. Instead he encounters: snarling mutineers barefoot bandits hairbreadth escapes duels cunning barkeeps simmering revenge secret identities scrappy orphans betrayals lost loves old enemies new villains heroic last stands and razzle-dazzle treasure so well hidden that only someone as quick and clever as Shipwreck could keep up with it. Plucked from the sea by the most notorious pirate in the Pacific, Shipwreck discovers his adventure is only beginning.