Since the eleventh century, the eldest son in each generation of the Cole family has born the same first name and many of them have followed the medical career. A few have been blessed with the ability to know when death is close to happen; they call it 'the gift'. Robert Jefferson Cole is deaf and is called 'Shaman'. His life is difficult and he has to learn to speak. During his struggle against prejudice and to achieve an identity, his family and America lives in a conflict between the North and the South.