When Bobby Jemarra begins researching his ancestors, he stumbles across an epic tale of discovery. The story begins with a marine soldier, Private Higgins, who was thought to have deserted his post during a sensitive English surveillance mission to claim ownership of Australia before any other 18th century superpower had the chance. However, the marine's disappearance is not what it seems, and the so-called deserter is found, badly injured, by two Aboriginal men, who decide, for their own reasons, to rescue him and take him into their tribe. The rancour of his abandonment is profound within Higgins, which drives him to embrace the tribe. He grows to understand his new family, and over the years, he finds love and builds a family of his own. When an English fleet eventually returns, Higgins is flogged for desertion, but when the truth of his innocence comes to light, the Admiralty ships him back to England and promotes him to the rank of major.