Edinburgh, 1736. In the town’s grim prison, the Heart of Midlothian, two prisoners await execution. Captain Porteous of the Town Guard has been sentenced to death for ordering his soldiers to open fire on Edinburgh citizens. He hopes for reprieve. The people want revenge. Effie Deans, wrongly accused of killing her newborn baby, will die unless her sister, Jeanie, tells a lie. Jeanie, determined to save her sister, makes a terrifying journey as Effie’s life hangs in the balance.
Running away to sea brings adventure and wealth, but then come shipwreck and a desperate struggle for survival. Defying his parents, Robinson Crusoe goes to sea. He is captured by pirates but escapes to Brazil. He makes a fortune using slave labour to grow tobacco and sugar. He sails to Africa to bring back more slaves but is shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. Everyone else is drowned. For more than twenty years, he lives alone. He learns to hunt and fish and make shelter.