Set in nineteenth century Scotland in a remote crafting area and based on a real event and on the writings of the young Roderick Macrae as he is detained in gaol awaiting trial. His advocate has asked him to set down the true facts and the boy has agreed because of the advocate's kind treatment of him. There is controversy as to whether the account is true but certainly in the view of the author this is a genuine account of the appalling conditions that the crofters in the highlands of Scotland endured before being unceremoniously 'cleared' from the land of the unscrupulous landlords.
After the death of his much loved mother, young Roderick, who is a bright if slightly unusual child, is beaten by his father, persecuted by one of the crofters, ridiculed by some and taken advantage of by others. His life is dreadful, and he is not good at dealing with relationships. This is the story of how he comes to take his revenge on his persecutors.