The Seagrave family are returning to New South Wales on board the Pacific when a storm strikes, wrecking the ship.  The crew escape in a lifeboat, abandoning the passengers to their fate.  The Seagrave family, together with their young black female servant Juno, and the veteran sailor Masterman Ready, are shipwrecked on a desert island. The family learn to survive many obstacles, helped by Ready’s long experience of life as a seaman and they keep faith that they will be rescued.  One of the first historical adventures for younger readers, Marryat – a sailor of long experience – was annoyed that Wyss had portrayed being shipwrecked as a romantic adventure in his 1812 book The Swiss Family Robinson  and he also disapproved of the ignorance regarding flora and fauna displayed by Wyss.