In 1535 Jacques Cartier, a Frenchman, sailed up the St. Lawrence River and into the heart of New France where he first set eyes upon Quebec. Cartier was not suited to remaining in one place, and in settling near Quebec he was unprepared for the weather. The winter brought starvation and disease, which forced Cartier back to France. Five years later he would return with greater numbers, but the result remained the same. A half century later, Samuel de Champlain arrived and capitalized on his countryman's discovery. Champlain established Quebec's first permanent settlement. These first settlers had to contend not only with the weather, but also with local Indians, and in 1629 a British barricade. Nevertheless, Quebec soon became a powerful center of trade and of religion. The Jesuit missionaries used the settlement as a launch pad from which they would travel out into the wild and spread the word of God. Authors Gilbert Parker and Claude G. Bryan deliver an in depth account of the history of one of the oldest cities in North America. Their writing traverses four centuries, from the 1530s and the inception of a small settlement on the St. Lawrence River all the way up to the late 1860s and Quebec's transformation from an administrative center to a cultural icon.