"The Owls House stood in a valley in West Cornwall. It belonged to a prosperous farmer, John Penhale, who lived there with his gipsy wife and his two sons - Ortho, who is wild, unreliable, and attractive, and Eli, who is quiet, good, and stolid. All the excitement happens to Ortho. He runs away from school to join the gipsies, he becomes a smuggler, is captured by pirates, sold as a slave in Morocco, and rises to be a famous soldier in the army of the Sultan. But hair-raising and outrageous as many of his adventures are, Crosbie Garstin has made them seem believable."