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At the instigation of his half brother Lionel, Oliver Tressilian, a wealthy baronet, is shanghaied and blamed for the death of Peter Godolphin, brother of Oliver's fiancée, whom Lionel actually has slain. At sea Oliver is captured by Spaniards and made a galley slave, but when he escapes to the Moors he becomes Sakr-el-Bahr, the scourge of Christendom. Learning of Rosamund's marriage to his half brother, he kidnaps both of them, but to avoid sending her to the Basha of Algiers he surrenders to a British ship. Rosamund intercedes to save his life, and following the sacrificial death of Lionel they are married.