The story of a young, loving Belgian couple who immigrate to the New World to escape persecution and certain death to find a better life and raise their new family. Guillaume and Adrienne de la Vigne are real people who lived in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Heirs to a family business, they finally decide to leave their ancestral city and all behind as the Spanish Inquisition is closing in.
A spell-binding story of family love, commitment, fear and struggle in a post-Renaissance world, this three part story begins at the time of an unexpected return of the Black Plague as the family patriarch sacrifices his life to save his family. A record breaking cold and stormy winter almost destroys the Netherlands. Then starvation and fires, and roving bands of ruffians and troublemakers are upon them. Still the family continues as their Protestant brothers and sisters and their faith sustains them.
Much of the story takes place in the small city of Valenciennes-- the valley of swans--in southern Belgium, and later in the safe northern city of Amsterdam, away from the ruthless, ragtag armies of the King of Spain. Finally, the de la Vignes become the first of 30 families selected by the Dutch West India Company to establish a permanent fur trading settlement in and around what is today New York City.
This historical novel is the result of twenty years of careful research and translation of source documents by the author, a descendant of the de la Vignes.