The long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. It's 1772, the Royal Colony of North Carolina, and the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the back country and preserve the colony for King and Crown. One minor problem: Jamie Fraser's wife, Claire, is a time-traveller, as are his daughter and son-in-law. And Jamie knows that three years hence, the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the end of it all will be independence - with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. Beyond present danger, though, looms the threat of a tiny clipping from the Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports the destruction of the house on Fraser's Ridge and the death by fire of James Fraser and all his family. For once, Jamie Fraser hopes the time-travellers in his family are wrong about the future. But only time will tell.