In 1898 the great invasion of British steam trawlers came to the Faroese fishing grounds. It was a shock for the Faroese who felt that their livelihood was threatened. The British often fished right up to the shoreline and on the fishing grounds which the Faroese fishermen had made use of for centuries.
The anger towards the British was so strong that a Danish military vessel was sent to the Faroes to intercept British trawlers. The relationship between Britain and Denmark was good in other respects and it is clear that the Danish authorities were taken aback by this sudden crisis. The Danish representatives in the Faroes were caught between Danish political interests - i.e. good trade relations with Britain which was the largest market for Danish agriculture - and the anger of the Faroese.
On 1 April 1901 Henry Montagu Villiers was appointed consul to the Faroes and Iceland and came to Tórshavn with his wife, two children and two attendants. He was not welcome at all. The Faroese did not allow him to step onto shore. He was forced to leap into a small boat to get onto land, while his following remained onboard. No one was willing to provide any lodgings for him until a grateful young baker, who had been an apprentice in Scotland, gave him a place to rent. The Danish officials were just as unkind, as he was their opponent and they had to be careful not become friendly with an emissary whom the Faroese perceived as an enemy.
These dramatic events in the Faroes just after the turn of the century are the main theme of the book.