by Maxine Trottier
Fourteen-year-old William Jenkins is working at a printing house when he comes to the attention of navigator and naval officer James Cook. William signs up to serve with Cook on the warship HMS Pembroke, part of Britain's fleet setting out to take the French stronghold of Quebec.
William soon learns that the world of a British sailor is a harsh one, especially when the ship lays siege to the fortress and is attacked by French fire ships — burning wrecks sent downstream to set the British warships on fire. On one raid, William is captured by the French allies, the Abenaki, and taken into Quebec itself, which is under constant bombardment from British cannons.
With the siege strangling Quebec's lifelines, William finds a way outside the fortress walls just in time to join the British soldiers landing their boats and preparing to face the French on the Plains of Abraham.