William Mackenzie's wealth came from the slave trade, plantations in Jamaica, and an Atlantic smuggling racket. He marries Delia, daughter of Judge Fogo, but the Judge discovers William's smuggling secret and, before he can lay information, dies in a shooting "accident." Robert Thomson, made a scapegoat by William, spends 13 years exiled in Jamaica.
At the same time, Angus Ritchie in Scotland persuades his family to emigrate. The powerful Lairds are turning the land over to sheep, and people fear eviction. A catastrophe on the Atlantic voyage means that Angus is almost drowned, and his injuries cause severe loss of memory. For 13 years he works at a fish-drying station in Newfoundland, acquiring the name of Barney. This is also a staging-post in William's smuggling activities.
Robert follows William to Scotland, determined to expose the smuggling crimes. He encounters "Barney" and tries to help him recover his memory. But "Barney" has fallen in love with Alice, who lives with her parents in the Codroy Valley. Her father bans their marriage until he knows Barney's true lineage, and "Barney" goes to Halifax to discover his identity.
Robert tells Delia that William has murdered her father, but is attacked by footpads hired by William,and is transported back to North America. A passenger on the same ship is Angus's sister, Elizabeth. Pooling their knowledge, they believe "Barney" to be the missing Angus. The families are eventually re-united. Delia separates from William; they quarrel, the house in Edinburgh catches fire, and William does not survive.
"Jean Lucas tells a spellbinding story about emigrant Scots to Canada, using authentic historical accounts. With its elegant prose and fascinating characters "The Pictou Triangle" will delight readers of all ages."
Dr. Lucille H. Campey (Scottish Emigration Historian)