Maagda Boscher, 24, is the older daughter of Hoorn, Holland shipbuilder, the widower Lars Boscher. Maagda has known since childhood that her duty in this 17th c. Dutch seaside town is to learn everything about the Boscher Boat Yard's operations, marry and produce an heir for the legacy that sustains the Yard and the town. Maagda embraces this path. The exciting promise of trade and expansion entices her. But, she rebels when her father entertains a proposal of marriage from a local man.Tossing custom aside, Maagda verbally spars with her father to ignore the proposal and instead, to marry Pier Veerbeck, an Amsterdam diamond cutter, and nephew of the Boat Yard's most respected employe. A tragic choice. While Maagda's future is tied to the legacy of shipbuilding and the promising future of trade in Holland's Golden Age, Pier's future is tied to emigration to the New World, a fact he hides from Maagda and her father. Pier views fatherhood as an unwanted burden on the money he'll need for his voyage with Maagda and her dowry. There will be no children.For the next two years, Maagda fights Pier's dream, tries to convert him to her vision, and finally, at her father's death, seeks loving comfort from a Swedish soldier Pier brought home as a lodger. She becomes pregnant. The Swede sails off on a voyage unaware he is to be a father. Maagda, now alone, must decide how to rid herself of Pier with the help of his attorney cousin, and how to protect her unborn child's legacy, or rid herself of the pregnancy. She makes her choice and in a final showdown with Pier, imprisoned for a tulip/diamond crime, Maagda triumphs and returns to Hoorn to build her young republic's most prosperous trading empire.