William Roscoe, a young Virginia planter and sheriff of Yorktown and Gloucester, and Sarah Harrison, seventeen-year old daughter of one of Virginia’s wealthiest planters, are in love and engaged to be married. But Sarah’s father, Benjamin Harrison II, forces Sarah to break the engagement and marry James Blair, lobbyist, church bureaucrat and Commissary of the Church of England, with connections to the Board of Trade in England.
Sarah retains her dowry and wealth, and while Blair goes to England to lobby for a college of which he’d be President, she continues her relationship with William. Sarah and William buy two sailing ships, and William begins trade with pirates in the new city of Charles Towne. With King William’s War with France finished, commerce and trade open up and Virginia planters become very wealthy—William becomes a member of the House of Burgesses. But Blair returns, reclaiming his status and seeking power over all of Virginia, forcing a showdown with William over the affections of Sarah.