The MacLeans have suffered being thrown off their land, emigrating to the New World, surviving in the forest wilderness, and losing their father Gillan in a bizarre murder.
Now, ten years later, the two youngest emigrants split the family across an ocean: Sheena and her well-connected husband Gordon Lamont pursue a future back in Scotland while Alisdair dreams of university and a chance to reform the political system. But the British Empire of the 1830s has yet more surprises.
When the only school in the province only accepts Anglican students, what will Alisdair do? When Sheena finds herself in a role of authority over families like her own, how will she cope? And when both their hopes of peace and stability are dealt a telling blow, how will they stay true to their fighting spirit?