In 1687, the English Colony of New York is in dire financial straits. The flow of beaver pelts from the Iroquois, the life's blood of the colony, has slowed to a trickle. The colonial governor, Thomas Dongan, decides to solve the problem by diverting furs from Montreal in New France to Albany. To achieve this, he sends a party of fur traders across the Great Lakes to trade with the Ottawa.
Although only recently married to Laurentje van Reuyter, Sean O'Cathail joins the small band of adventurers. Before leaving Albany, however, they learn that the governor of New France, the Marquis Denonville, will invade Iroquois territory to destroy the Seneca. The trading party must now try to evade Denonville's force of professional soldiers, militia, coureurs-des-bois and Indians.
Confident that they can avoid capture, Sean and his fellow boschlopers proceed to cross the Great Lakes. Before reaching Lake Huron, however, they are captured and Sean learns that his adventure is only just beginning. The prisoners are taken to Montreal where Sean and a comrade, Philip Viele, are put to work on an apple farm. They escape and, stealing a canoe, start to work their way back toward Albany. Unfortunately for them, they are recaptured by the Abenaki, a tribe allied with the French, and tortured. It is only with the help of Kai, a Mohawk woman who was once Sean's lover, that they regain their health and manage to escape, again, together with Kai and her and Sean's young son, Keme. But they didn't escape unnoticed.
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