On two remote islands off the coast of Maine, the local lobstermen have fought savagely for generations over the fishing rights to the ocean waters between them. Young Ruth Thomas is born into this feud, a daughter of Fort Niles destined to be at war with the men of Courne Haven. Smart as a whip at eighteen and irredeemably unromantic, Ruth returns home from boarding school determined to throw her education overboard and join the stem men on the lobster boats. Then Ruth gets a glimpse of Owney Wishnell, a silent young Courne Haven Adonis with a preternatural gift for catching lobsters . . .