Ghost Hawk is about the experiences of two young men named Little Hawk and John Wakeley, who grow up in different environments yet are trapped in the same conflict between the Englishmen and the Indians in the American Indian Wars.
The story began when a Indian man took out a tomahawk blade and twisted two slim branches from a small bitternut hickory tree on a salt marsh around the blade. Eleven years later, the same man chopped down the same tree and gave the finished tomahawk to his son, Little Hawk. He informed him that he was going to go through a ritual that required him to survive three months in the woods alone. When he returns, Little Hawk will finally prove himself as a man. The tomahawk is one of the things that he could bring with him during the ritual. Three other boys will also be doing the same as Little Hawk. After the three solitary months, Little Hawk found his way back home in triumph just to discover that his whole village is dead. His grandmother, Suncatcher, is the only one in the village. The two of them carried on with their lives in a new village. When spring came, two Englishmen and a seven-year-old boy arrived with an Indian translator named Squanto. The boy crept away from his father while they were being taught how to fish and played with other children. The boy told his name to Little Hawk. His name was John Wakeley. Soon, the white men came back and brought the boy away. About three years later, Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle were chosen to be runners. Runners brought messages to and from the Indian sachem’s home. Halfway through their journey, they heard screams. Little Hawk ran toward them and saw a white man lying crushed under a big tree and another man trapped by his leg underneath a huge tree. A boy was standing next to them, screaming. He recognized Little Hawk and started pleading for help. Little Hawk realized the boy was John and took out his tomahawk. He started to hack at the branch when suddenly, a bullet sailed through the air, blasted a hole in his chest and killed him.
After the gunshot took Little Hawk’s life, Leaping Turtle dived in the undergrowth and ran on and on, sobbing and mourning. John just stood in shock. Two Englishmen came out the trees, one was named Daniel Smith and the other was named Walter Kelly. They had thought Little Hawk was attacking John so they killed him. They threw Little Hawk’s body aside, and started hacking at the branch to free John’s father. John began to cry and shrieked at the men, saying that Little Hawk was just trying to help. John started to grow a sense of hatred towards the two Englishmen. People carried John’s father away in a litter and nobody noticed John taking Little Hawk’s tomahawk and sliding it under his jacket. That night, John’s father died. Soon after, Daniel Smith married John’s mother. One year later, Daniel sent John away to be an apprentice to a cooper named Master Medlycott. On the way, he met a pretty girl named Huldah...