When Matthew Larkin comes to South Australia in 1842 to join his brother James, many people say he is not cut out for life on the frontier. Charming and chaotic, he seems more born for poetry and the salons of London than the rough life of building a new colony. But it is his very difference that wins the heart of Lucy Bray, the smart and impulsive niece of the Governor. When Matthew meets eccentric lower-class schoolteacher and friend of the Kaurna people, William Cawthorne, he becomes enthralled by the culture of the Aboriginal people and earns the disapproval of other colonists. While Matthew believes that Europeans can live alongside and share with the Kaurna, who have been made British citizens after all, many colonists have other plans. When the brothers move to their holding in the north of the colony, sheep are taken by aborigines while overlanding from New South Wales. Tensions between groups of colonists rise and shooting parties begin. It is a battle for the existence of an ancient culture and for the soul of the new colony. When Matthew is injured Lucy is desperate for news and, even though forbidden by her uncle, she makes an epic solo ride to the North to find out what is really happening away from the town. What awaits her there will change her life forever. This is an important novel about friendship and love, and about Aboriginal culture, frontier violence and the meaning of the law.