The story is set in central Europe 5300 years ago from the northern Alps
of Italy to the eastern lands along the Danube River to Vinca, the earliest European Bronze Age civilization. Otzi is the chieftain of a south Tyrollean late stone age tribe scrounging for a living in the high mountains. To support his village he travels on foot to trade with the people on the north side of the mountains. He returns after a long trip to his family and village with a big backpack full of goods, his wife Mara tells him the wheat Fields has failed. He and his son Anise must hunt to get through the winter.
As a youth he took a trip he took down the Danube to Vinca where he met his father's brother and family who prospered raising goats, farming, and hunting. There meets his First wife, joins the hunting for the huge wild bison, and is told the secret of smelting copper, given a few small copper ore stones to help him Cind more. He brought his bride back up the Danube but she died during the birth of his son Anise.
Desperate to find a way to support his family after the failed wheat crop, he searched the neighborhood for copper ore but found none. A northerner agrees to get copper ore from Tuscany in the south and trade for goats. With the good ore, he is able to make copper, but the copper has never been seen before, is regarded as evil knowledge, and results in a Cight to save his life from the judgment of the shaman.