This is a fictional version of the extraordinary story of St. Niklaus von Flüe, Switzerland’s patron saint. Niklaus von Flüe was a fifteenth-century farmer who abandoned his wife and ten children to pursue his calling as a hermit, and apparently survived for nineteen years without eating.
One day he knocks at his wife’s door and asks his eldest son, Hans, to accompany him on a pilgrimage to find a new hermitage. Hans accepts, even though this means that he has to abandon his own young family. The pilgrimage leads them north-west through Basel and on through France to reach the ocean which will lead them to a new, undiscovered land. On their travels they are joined by a cast of quirky characters whose personalities shine through in their many adventures, from the greedy but genuinely witty and practical hangman Vischer to the hermit Ulrich, who looks up to Niklaus but seems not to have a mind of his own. Hans loves his father dearly but expresses doubts about the pilgrimage and about his faith.
This is a fabulous, picaresque adventure full of absurd and humorous situations which will entertain and delight readers.