Bookshelf: The Young Rebels – The Sea Gold Incident

The Young Rebels – The Sea Gold Incident
By William Johnston
First Published in 1970
Published by Ace Books
160 Pages

The second of two novels based on ABC’s The Young Rebels, The Sea Gold Incident sees young revolutionaries Jeremy Larkin, Isak Poole and Henry Abington charged by General Lafayette with somehow getting a shipment of gold past the British Redcoats and back to Headquarters. The gold is aboard the French ship St. Michel. It has been melted down and molded into the shape of something that only the captain knows. Unfortunately, the British are also aware of the ship’s valuable cargo.

Scan of the front cover to the TV tie-in novel The Sea Gold Incident, based on ABC's The Young Rebels.
The Sea Gold Incident Front – Copyright 1970 Ace Books

The three meet a one-armed man named Jack Cooley who they eventually learn to trust. He proves quite helpful. They also meet a young woman named Jane Powers after they’re captured by her father, a staunch loyalist. She eventually comes around and decides to help them. Jeremy, Isak, Henry and Cooley learn that the gold has been molded into a railing aboard the St. Michel.

After retrieving it they’re told that Jane and her father are being interrogated by the British. Their plan to save the two backfires and Jeremy, Isak and Cooley are captured by the British. Together with Jane and her father the three are forced to go out to the sinking St. Michel to look for the gold (which they’ve already hidden on shore). When the British leave, the others are left behind. Jane’s father dies before they can get back to the safety of dry land. But the gold is in the hands of the revolutionaries. The Young Rebels have won the day.

Scan of the back cover of the TV tie-in novel The Seagold Incident, based on ABC's The Young Rebels.
The Sea Gold Incident Back – Copyright 1970 Ace Books

The Sea Gold Incident is a very good adaptation of The Young Rebels, although there isn’t much of the humor that was part of the television series. Nor does Elizabeth Coates, Jeremy’s girlfriend, show up or even merit a mention. But that doesn’t detract from the story in the least. Henry Abington, a Ben Franklin type, has a few intellectual moments, including one in which he assures Jeremy and Isak that there won’t be a storm and there’s no reason to close the shutters in their rooms. There is a storm and poor Henry gets drenched before he can close his shutters.

The bulk of the action rests on Jeremy and Cooley. At one point, the two are set adrift in a small boat by the British. They work together and manage to get back to land. And at the end of the novel Cooley decides to join the cause for good. The revolutionaries get their gold and a new soldier.


1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I haven’t read this paperback, but this adaptation was certainly more faithful to the original series (even with “Elizabeth” omiited from the story) than Bantam’s 1966 paperback version of another Screen Gems/Columbia series, “I DREAM OF JEANNIE”. That original novel was credited to “Dennis Brewster”, but I suspect he was actually Al Hine, who wrote the “official” adaptation of “BEWITCHED” (blending seven early scripts into a full-length novel) for Dell in February 1965; several of Hine’s phrases from the “Bewitched” book {i.e. “whiz kids”} turn up in the “Jeannie” novel. And Sidney Sheldon’s name NEVER turned up once on the cover or copyright page [he originally owned the series as well as produced it]- the copyright for the book is in “Brewster’s” name. And if you ever read it…..I suspect “Brewster” never saw ONE episode- he used a “precis” of characters involved in the series (as of December 1965), and some publicity material {“Jeannie travels in her familiar smoke swirl”, read one NBC publicity release…and that’s how she does it in the novel, instead of “blinking” from one place to another, as she did in the series} to write the book. The less said about that “original novel” right now, the better.

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