When a deathbed confession uncovers secrets about his birth, twenty-year-old Roan--who has always believed himself an orphan, with no last name--sets off on a quest to discover the truth of his origins. His journey takes him across the snow-covered landscape of Newfoundland from the remote Northern Peninsula to St. John's and then onto the Newfoundland, one of the rickety and poorly equipped ships heading out to the sealing grounds for the spring hunt. Between his farewell to Dr. Grenfell, the man who raised, educated, and cared for Roan since his toddlerhood, and the final discovery that will alter his life forever, Roan is tossed both emotionally and physically into harrowing situations that he could never have imagined. The people Roan meets along his journey are vivid and unforgettable, from young Ila, isolated and desperate as her mother coughs her life away in a frigid cabin, to the hulking, volcanic, unknowable Ashur Genge, whose own heartbreaking secret may hold the key to Roan's deepest desire. As Roan's personal story entwines with the historical tale of the Newfoundland disaster, it is "the b'ys"--the simple men who risk their lives year after year on the ice--their brotherhood, their resilience, their heart, and their humour that carry him through tragedy and beyond.