Dorset, 1588. Thomas Harte and his father are ferrying metal shot to the ships of the English navy. The fleet is getting ready to face the Spanish Armada in the Channel.
However, when they put on board they are sent below decks and told to get ready to engage the enemy. Thomas and his father will be part of a battle.
On the gun deck Thomas joins the gunners as they fire cannons at the Spanish ships.
The return fire pierces the ship's side and Thomas experiences first hand the horror of naval warfare. Later the English prepare 'fire ships' and Thomas watches as confusion spreads among the enemy.
When the fighting is over Thomas and his father expect to be released. But they are kept on board ship along with all the other sailors...to avoid payment Thomas believes. By the time they are put on shore Thomas's father is very ill and Thomas must make the long walk home by himself.
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