Foreshadowing, or the author's use of clues that give the reader an idea about what might happen, or create suspense, or both, makes its appearance early in this novel by Avi. Charlotte Doyle, an upper class young lady who has been studying in England is set to sail to America on a merchant ship, and she will be chaperoned by two families known to her parents. However, before the ship even leaves shore, there are indications that this will be no ordinary voyage for the young lady. The two families with which she was to sail cancel their plans at the last minute, and more ominously, a porter carrying her luggage refuses to carry it further once he ascertains that she is sailing on the Seahawk, captained by a less than popular individual named Captain Jaggery. A second porter is assisting, and, again, learning that she is to be a passenger on the Seahawk, abandons her to her own devices. Clearly, there is something about the ship, or the captain, or both, that have left the porters feeling nervous and unwilling to board the ship, even just to drop off some luggage.