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In an effort to escape a haunted past, Jeduthan Higby abandons a home he despises in search of an unobtainable utopian dream. As weeks pass and Jeduthan's resolve to find a hiding place begins to fade, he meets William H. Bartlett, a promising young sketch artist. Encouraged by the artist's charming and witty personality, Jeduthan puts aside his trepidations and embarks with his newfound companion on exciting adventures along the Erie Canal during its maiden year, 1825. Gigantic granite locks, violent frontier settlements, wondrous isolated wilderness, and Troy's Female Seminary cement their friendship. However, when Bartlett's demise seems imminent, Jeduthan must again face his sins, alone. Can Jeduthan endure the return of guilty pangs, which only a few months before, compelled him to forsake the home of his youth?