Hakan Soderstrom and his older brother leave Sweden with the intention of boarding a ship that will take them to New York. Hakan loses track of his brother and ends up on a ship that takes him around Cape Horn and drops him on the California coast. Determined to reunite with his brother in New York, he departs California, swimming against the tide of immigrants heading west. This first novel is an epic adventure that is at times gruesome and heartbreaking, but always compelling. Hakan is a larger-than-life character, who -- by the end of the book -- has become a mythological creature in the land that he ceaselessly roams.