The prologue describes the First and fatal contact between Russians and the Tlingit. Chapter One introduces, Lisianski's rival, Yaskadut, a Tlingit shaman. Chapter Two describes the commencement of Lisianski circumnavigation. In chapter Three the magical birth and childhood of Yaskadut, a Kiks.adi Tlingit is revealed. Chapter Four describes the voyage from St. Petersberg to the Equator and an encounter with a French privateer. Here there are scenes of ships of war in combat. Chapter Five contains a fatal bear hunt, the death of Yaskadut's father, communion with nature, and Yaskadut's kidnap by the Koniag. By Chapter Six Lisianski, lazing at sea, recalls a battle of frigates. The apparition of a glowing whale and landfall on the coast of Brazil round out the chapter. Chapter Seven describes Yaskadut's sojourn in the land of the Koniag, Chugach and the Aleuts. There is a surreal ice floe survival scene. In Chapter Eight the war-sloop Neva round's The Horn and proceeds to Easter Island, and the women of the Marquises.
The Tlingit goddess Tl'anaxe'eda'kw ascends to the Milky Way with Yaskadut in Chapter Nine. Aataagliga, the Aleut, takes Yaskadut to the Island of Atka.
While in the Sandwich Islands, Lisianski receives a report of atrocities at the Russian fort in Sitka, A landfall at Kodiak Island closes
Chapter Ten with descriptions of the coastline of Alaska rivaling the fjords of Norway.
Kakuas-Geti, the "cannibal-lover", is introduced in Chapter Eleven. Yaskadut encounters the "Rooskies" on Atka, witnesses an otter kill and discovers an aquatic grotto. Alexander Alexandrovich Baranov appears in Sitka amidst rumors of war with the Kiks.adi Tlingit. In Chapter 13 Yaskadut surfs his kayak. Torture and murder drive Yaskadut on a 1640-mile paddle along the Aleutian Chain to Shee Atika. Yaskadut dances a reprise of his life. There is a description of a volcano's birth at sea. Russian-Tlingit contacts, Christian fire and brimstone, pervade Chapter Fourteen. By Chapter 15, parlay, assassination, and a night attack lead to Natook's punitive expedition, the burning of Eagle's Nest, and guerrilla warfare. There are scenes of battle in a northern rain forest among giant trees and ferns on a carpet of moss. Dr. Liband objects to Russian colonial policy in 16 and Yakwan betrays the Kiksadi at Eagle's Roost requiring the Tlingit to escape through the bowels of a glacier of blue ice and silver water falls in 17. Chapter 18. features a gathering of forces, ambush, hostages, terms, and perfidy. Chapter 19 reveals Russian cruelty in the name of Honor, God, and Country. In 20 we see the infamous Russian knout at work and witness a miraculous escape. There is a gun barge bombardment and an ultimatum in 21. Chapter 22 provides the Red Man's answer; no quarter given―none asked. A hellish night reveals an Indian version of the Masada in the final chapter. An Afterword and an Epilogue provides epitaphs for Lisianski, Yaskadut, and the war sloop Neva.