Seventeen men survived the shipwreck of the rum-smuggling Sydney Cove--but only three are picked up on a beach near the isolated settlement of Sydney in 1797. The three men have walked hundreds of miles across an alien landscape. They are distressed and injured. Their accounts of the ordeal are evasive--and conflicting. Tasked with investigating their stories, Lieutenant Joshua Grayling comes to realize that there might be something--or someone--behind the fourteen missing men. And as the full horror of the journey emerges, Grayling begins to wonder whether his own family is also in danger.