The year is 1865 and brothers Will and Tully Lees return to West Virginia from the American Civil War, lucky to survive the bloody struggle. The brothers feel they should help their family in their efforts to get on with their lives and bring the family property Rosenhelm to its former financial viability. Nevertheless these lovable brothers are restless to experience what the world has to offer outside the war zone. Their first romance with two beautiful gypsy girls end in disaster, but the gypsy charms they wear on their necks in memory of their beloved sweethearts means that they would be unable to fully love any other. Unaware of the power of these charms, in heartfelt sorrow the brothers throw themselves into work for the future advancement of the property. Skilled with horses and guns, one of their endeavours finds them running a mail delivery service and appointed to help the law to bring killers to justice.
They meet two females whom they plan to marry, but they soon become thirsty for adventure and postpone their weddings to travel to Washington to see the world. They then decide to visit the seaside town of Portsmouth where a wrong decision finds themselves in the company of unscrupulous Jack-tars, shanghaied and taken prisoners of gun running seafarers.
The inseparable brothers are forced to endure tough conditions as prisoners on the high seas. When it seems like things couldn't get any worse, Tully makes the emotional decision to let Will return home when they score the release of only one brother as a favour granted by the ship's Captain.
Tully's life is then turned upside down in fast succession, shipwrecked with the Captain in bad weather and then marooned on an uninhabited island enduring primitive conditions and forced to stay for a period of two years, latterly on his own, until an unexpected twist of fate finds him picked up by a English ship sailing for the new colony of Sydney.
What happens to Tully in Australia is unexpected as the longing he carried when he was shipwrecked to see his family and fiancée fade. The author paints an accurate picture of Sydney and life as it would have been in the earlier days after colonisation and one American's experience of a place so very different from his beloved Virginia.
A beautifully spun storyline bringing images of life in North America following its civil uprising and contrasting it with images of life in Australia following colonisation of a new land down under.