The ship travels first to West Africa to pick up slaves in Dahomey, where the party is nearly annihilated by Amazon warriors who object to Spring's attempt to purloin one of their number. After a narrow escape from this, the surviving ship's company, headed by Spring, sails for the USA to unload its cargo of slaves. On arrival Flashman escapes, but only at the price of pretending to be a crew member who died on the voyage and who was a British navy man in disguise ordered to spy on Spring. Flashman therefore finds himself unwillingly involved in the Abolitionist movement in the USA. Predictably this leads to all kinds of adventures, some amatory, and finally he has to be rescued from slave-catchers by none other than Congressman Abraham Lincoln.
As usual, the book is furnished with footnotes by the 'editor', which fill in some of the historical background to the lively narrative.