The perilous exploration of the Mississippi River was a task undertaken by Captain de Tonti in the 1680's both out of love for France and for his leader, the fearless La Salle. In this novel of a boy's allegiance to the hook-armed soldier, Anne Heagney, against a vivid scenic background of the Arkansas and Mississippi territory, presents a concise picture of the political aspirations of the times as embodied by de Tonti. A shrewd adventurer, de Tonti befriended the Indians, but did not hesitate to deceive them for the sake of his country's interests. Fearless, bold, dedicated to La Salle's ambitions for establishing French territories to the South, he willingly took a second place to his hero, acquitting himself at every turn with valor matched only by his shrewdness. Anne Heagney's ability to describe landscape and season adds dimension to the straightforward historical argument she presents.