It is the end of the seventeenth century, and the Rising Sun, the biggest of a five-ship flotilla, is making the perilous trip to Darien on the northern coast of Panama. With it go all the hopes and fears of the Scottish people who, driven at last to defiance of their jealous and powerful neighbour, wholeheartedly throw themselves into the scramble for empire and trade, the quest for untold riches and the discovery of a promised land. The narrator is Roderick Mackenzie, a young Scot of ambition, cunning - and naivity. Having secured for himself a place aboard the Rising Sun, he becomes the expeditions self-appointed chronicler - a task that turns out to be very different to the one that he had anticipated, as optimism turns to despair, comradeship to rivalry, and the brave colonial life to a long and heartbreaking struggle with rain, mud and disease. "We finish the book with strong feelings of gratitude for the amount and the variety of fictional entertainment it has provided. Its publication propels Douglas Galbraith to a place among the very best of our historical novelists". ("Observer"). "Racier than the Cutty Sark, and saltier than a barrel of anchovies, the book is a sea-faring yarn to be savoured". (" Daily Telegraph").