As the son of an officer, Jacques was expected to pursue a career in the military. In the spring of 1744, at the age of fifteen, Jacques and his father leave France for Louisbourg, the French capital of Île Royale, where Jacques is to learn the military arts – a far cry from his books and music and the comforts of his mother’s home.
In the Acadian forests that surround the French fortress of Louisbourg, a young Mi’kmaw man named Two-feathers watches the strange comings and goings of soldiers and citizens. Two-feathers is hoping to find his father who, he has been told, is an important man among the French – they have never met. From his discreet camp outside the walls of the fortress, Two-feathers watches, believing that he will know his father when he sees him. At night, he moves silently about the city, including the Governor’s apartments, where he befriends a beautiful young French woman.
Jacques’ life in Louisbourg is a curious mixture of military duties and his visits to the Governor’s apartments where he teaches the daughter of a visiting merchant to play the violoncello.
The two young men follow very different paths – one formally educated and refined, the other curious and skilful – both seeking to understand their father. Their paths and their worlds collide during the violent siege by British forces in 1745.