On Daniel Tucker's 13th birthday, a hawk flies over his family's farm. Does the hawk announce a visitor, or warn of imminent danger? Daniel's mother and sister listen for the hawk's message, while something urgent stirs inside Daniel. He is struggling to find his own path between the heritage of his Pequot mother and the customs of his English father. Meanwhile, a new family has moved into the crumbling cabin next door. Hiram Coombs can't believe his parents have returned to Vermont now that the Revolutionary War is over. Don't they remember the terror of the raid, when Indians and Redcoats burned the family's previous farm and kidnapped Hiram's uncle? When Hiram encounters Daniel at the trout stream that separates the two farms, he sees only a "dirty Injun," while Daniel regards Hiram as "buffle-brained." The arrival of two more unexpected visitors heightens the tensions between the boys and threatens to rekindle the smoldering embers of the war.