The story of New Amsterdam from its purchase by Peter Minuit through its growth unfolds realistically utilizing true historical characters and events in an ostensibly fictional setting. When Gerritt and Jan witnessed by little Alida, accidentally kill the Indian, Gray Owl's uncle, the Indian nephew vows revenge. Gerritt also makes a vow, to compensate for his black deed by becoming a doctor. Young Alida grows up and is sought after by the wealthy van Rensselaer and the famous de Vries, but when Gerritt returns from his training, she chooses him. The bloody Indian Dutch wars, said to have been triggered by the previous killing, occupies much of the story. As do the customs of New Amsterdam, portraits of its citizens, and incidents in their lives. Altogether, this makes for absorbing reading from beginning to end.