The author has created a character from the early 1700s-Thomas Doty, who lives on a family farm outside of Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania. He meets a weathered sea captain who is down on his luck and short of hands aboard his sloop, the Shannon. Intrigued by adventure, Thomas goes to sea, but ends up shipwrecked and seized by a band of surly cutthroat pirates. Now, amid the designs of some sordid brigands well-acquainted with wanton cruelty, Thomas wonders if his courage and cunning can release him from his captors' wily schemes. His escape from them only hurls him into challenges fraught with unforeseen circumstances as he journeys homeward and beyond, discovering the distant frontier of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio country teeming with Mingo, Delaware, Shawnee, and Seneca Indians intent on preserving their culture from the ever-encroaching whites. As Thomas negotiates with death on the one hand and life on the other, survival forces him onward. He encounters English and French traders and finds friends, love, and a mortal enemy as he endures life within the turmoil of the French and Indian War, Pontiac's Rebellion, and the siege of Fort Pitt.