Phoebe belongs to Master Duncan and works in the plantation kitchen. She sees how the other slaves are treated -- the beatings and whippings, the disappearances. She hasn't seen her mother since Master Duncan sold her ten years ago. But Phoebe is trying to learn words and how to read and when she is asked to show the master's Canadian visitor, Doctor Bergman, where he can find warblers and chickadees she starts to see things differently. And Doctor Bergman has more in mind that just drawing the local birds. Phoebe's friend Shad works on the plantation as well -- but mostly he worries about his brother Will. His brother is the last member of his family and he is determined to escape from the master and the tobacco plantation. He has already been caught and beaten more than once. And the stories about life in Canada can't be true, can they? How does a man survive without the master there taking care of everything? -- publisher.