The historical novel is based on real events of the 18th century and incorporates the "Appin Murder" into the story, which occurred after the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
The main character, David Balfour, has recently been orphaned and comes to live with his dubious uncle Ebenezer. David finds circumstantial evidence that makes him the heir to an estate instead of his uncle and confronts him. Ebenezer promises to tell him the truth, but in fact has very different plans. A short time later David finds himself tied up on a ship and has to fear for his life.
During his fight for survival David meets different historically documented persons like Alan Breck Stewart, Colin Roy Campbell, James Stewart or Rob Roy MacGregor. Will he get the justice he deserves and thwart his uncle's plans?