Jay Benton returns to Brazil for the first time since his birth. Recently graduating from the Harvard Business School, he feels empty and rudderless and is anxious to learn as much as he can about his saint-like Brazilian father who was killed when Jay was only two. He also wants to discover more about his Confederate ancestors who emigrated to Brazil shortly after the Civil War. During Jay's ten-day visit to Campo Feliz, a city founded by one of his forefathers, Jay falls in love, is almost killed in a land dispute, and discovers facts about himself and his family that change his life. The Descendant is a book with strong spiritual themes of suffering, prejudice, forgiveness, and grace. It is an informative book that tells the story of leprosy and of the Confederate emigration to Brazil.