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Sir George Maxon, a wealthy Englishman, sends his neer-do-well son to Australia with a shipload of women who have been procured from jails and workhouses. The knight puts his heir entirely in charge of the whole unusual project. His son is to oversee the auctioning of the women to the male Australian colonists. Primarily, however, the father thinks this experience will guide his wastrel son toward a life pattern of maturity, acceptance of responsibility, and faithfulness to commitments. In his heart, Sir George knows the money gained means nothing.
On board Expectant, so named by the waggish Sir George, the young George creates distractions for the cargo and crew to help ease the boredom of the long voyage. Underway across the wide Pacific Ocean, all goes well until a storm of death-dealing force dooms the ship. Many lives are lost. What survivors there are manage to reach the shore of a small island. This group includes George and Tommie, the ships cabin boy. Work begins to make the island habitable for humansfood, fire, and sharks present enduring problems.
After many weeks of waiting for news of Expectant and his son, Sir George makes a bold decisionhe will search for his boy. In the company of his two closest friends, the knight sets sail on a quest that suggests little hope for success.
Ever present is the evil shadow of Sir Barton Blackmer hanging over the heads of everyone. Blackmer is constantly obsessed by his hatred of Sir George, whom he blames for all the troubles besetting him. When the Black Knight and his band of cutthroats come face-to-face with the defenseless castaways, the senseless slaughter begins.