In 1649 Dutch engineer Jan Brunt arrives in Ely to begin the great endeavour of levelling and draining the Fens. His life and work are bound by order, measurement and science. England is in the throes of Civil War and Cromwell’s troops are amassing, yet the real danger for him is water and the many labyrinthine channels that encompass the Great Level. Then one day lost on the level he spies a Fenswoman and everything he thought he knew starts to unravel. Many years later, now a distinguished gentleman in Nieuw Amsterdam in the bustling hubbub of the New World, Jan receives a note, unsigned.