Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship, or, The Naval Terror of the Seas, is Volume 18 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap. The story was written in 1915, and World War I, known as The Great War, was already in progress. As the story opens, Tom is explaining his newest invention to his friend, Ned Newton. Just as Tom is in the middle of explaining the problems he is having, a fire erupts in one of the sheds, where explosives are stored. After the fire has been put out, careful investigation shows that the fire was set deliberately. In preparation for presenting his new airship to the United States Government, Tom has invited a Lieutenant Marbury, from the Navy, to review his ship. Marbury informs Tom of a possible plot against Tom and his inventions, past and present. Tom scoffs at the idea, but soon finds out otherwise, as his new airship is hijacked by foreign spies with an unknown agenda.