"The Able Seaman's Mate" follows the odyssey of a young Irish immigrant through the landscape of America at the turn of the twentieth century. Jimmy Delaney is thrust into the hectic drive and conflict of American life, absorbing a cast of characters, places, exultation and tragedy. Here are Big Tommy Delaney, patriarch and legend in his own time; Big Jimmy Delaney and Mary Delaney, victims of ritual locked in memory; Murphy, flamboyant able seaman with a spare coat; Roach, a sea captain worthy of the name; Chisel Bill Bannister, refugee of Five Points gang wars; Solomon Weiss, kindly proprietor of a grocery; Tommy Monaghan, dispensing wisdom from a loading dock; Willy Gantz, the son of slaves who says little and that little cautiously; Inspector Hessler, obsessed with a murder he cannot resolve; Harry Archer, who builds railroad bridges and feels guilty riding in a drawing room on the train; John Sluman, who plays a dangerous game; Blalock, spokesman for the casualties of Manifest Destiny; Paddy O'Brien, everyone's contender for the heavyweight boxing title; Carlyle, an architect who understands things and worries about his sons; Weaver, a newspaper editor who tries to print as much of the truth as he can. And here is Jimmy Delaney - willful, reflective, enigmatic - whose journey of discovery finally collides with a momentous event which tests him as nothing else could.