This launches a series that should enrich our background knowledge of American history. With no attempt to present a facet of an actual historical event, this book, and presumably those that follow, show the development of an enterprise vital to the American economy- in this instance fur trade and farming. The period is that of the Dutch occupation and control of New Amsterdam and the Hudson Valley. The competition was keen for the newly developing fur trade, and Kaspar de Selle, expert furrier, is sent out as an apprentice to the colonial representative, Jeremias van Rensselmer, in the tiny hamlet bearing his name. Kaspar, baffled by the frustrations of his assignment, the enmity of his fellow clerk, Nicholas, finds relief in his beloved falcon -- in the companionship of Grita, adopted daughter of the farmer with whom he was domiciled. After many adventures in the wilds-vicissitudes of varying magnitude- he is instrumental in uncovering the fraud that cheats the homeland of its due. And he finds that his heart is Grita's and the new country's, rather than the beaver trade. Color- drama- action, with occasional diversions slowing the pace... A good start for the Land of the Free series, which Erick Berry is editing.