..... is the young American continent in the 1740's, seen here in Maine in the new settlement that Bartholomey Mayhew has set up on the Penobscot with a dream of building ships. Known as Tenby, it houses a handful of colonists; guided by Mayhew it has no protection against attack, believes in the friendliness of the Indians, and is wide open -- to the rigors of its fiercest winter, the disasters brought about by the clash between the French and the English, and the blow after blow that decimates the small collection of families . The spy among them, Grotius Martin, is a part of the siege of Louisburg, ties the Indian white captive Little Thrush (Emlyn) into the Mayhews' lives when he rescues Bart's younger brother after his capture by the Indians, and is a constant (on which side) when Bart -- his colony massacred and his wife and daughter captured -- is commissioned to an officership in the Massachusetts Provincal Navy. There follows the Canso attack, the plans for the forces against Louisburg and the questions of leadership, responsibility and the mistakes of judgment that entered into Bart's extended life, which also affected and were affected by his two brothers -- ""timber wolves"" and whose lives as Indians are in contrast to Bart's careless leadership. If this is a close, detailed panorama of the events, incidents, actions of those years, it is also a less closely noted series of character portraits in which situation takes precedence over personality or psychological development. So -- for history, facts and background -- this covers its territory explicitly and carries its stories well but its figures remain -- with the exception of Indians and treacherous French -- only figures. Never lose sight of its readability in spite of everything.