Nancy Blackett, the terror of the seas, has finally met a real pirate - the tiny, pistol-carrying Missee Lee, who has rescued them after their shipwreck off the coast of China. The only trouble is she wants to keep them. forever.
(Some of) the Chinese in this book come off as crafty, selfish, barbaric, etc. That's quite intentional -- their characters are supposed to be crafty, selfish, or barbaric. Because we see them only through the eyes of the English, they tend to be a bit one-dimensional as well. Probably some people out there is saying that this book is politically incorrect; if so, I urge them to tell their children not to read it. (The children will, of course, promptly read it!)
In the meantime, enjoy this with your family.
This time around, the crew of the Wild Cat (without Peter Duck) again find themselves face to face with pirates, although under somewhat different circumstances and of a rather different kind from those in their earlier adventure. They also face a fate that English schoolchildren probably once considered worse than death - a life of perpetual Latin lessons!
Anyone coming to this book without the benefit of at least the first three volumes of the series ("Swallows and Amazons", "Peter Duck" and "Swallowdale") may struggle a little with just who people are and why things are the way they are, so I don't recommend diving straight into the series here! If you've read the first three books, though, there is absolutely no need to leave this one until its place in the published sequence, as it does not tie into any of the intervening volumes. Anyone familiar with the earlier books will know exactly what to expect here; nor will they be disappointed. Whilst aimed at children, the book remains a delightful read whatever one's age.