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1842-1844. The story of the Simon family: Johann, a blacksmith, his wife Margret, their three children Lena, older sister to Gustav and Jakob, and the sons' future wives Jettchen and Florinchen. The hand of fate risks destroying this family, but ultimately this is a story of courage and faith in the future.
Tens of thousands of Germans, suffering famine, poverty and the arbitrary nature of governments, emigrate to South America. 'A fate better than death can be found anywhere.'
Jakob, the youngest Simon boy, reads any book he can get his hands on and studies the languages of the Amazonian Indians. He dreams of a better world, adventure, a change of scenery and freedom. He decides to emigrate.
The return of his brother Gustav from military service in the Prussian army sparks a series of events that sorely test Jakob's love and turns his life upside down.