The novel is set in a fishing village in Dorset during the mid 18th century. The story concerns a 15 year old orphan boy, John Trenchard, who becomes friends with an older man who turns out to be the leader of a gang of smugglers. A much-loved classic story about a boy's adventures among smugglers and thieves as he endeavours to discover the whereabouts of the treasure hidden by the legendary pirate Blackbeard. As the book progresses these two interwoven themes resolve themselves into a third and richer one, with the friendship and suffering of both John Trenchard and the craggy, taciturn Elzevir Block. Falkner's feeling for history and for the landscape of his Dorset setting combine with his gift for storytelling to turn Moonfleet into a historical romance of moving intensity.