Henri's family sends a son from each generation to military college for a commission into the French Foreign Legion. As he fulfils this tradition and the Second World War breaks out, Henri is faced with a dilemma which will lead to an adventure few could match in that conflict.
Leo is set on joining Goering's new Luftwaffe. Like Henri, his closest friend at their school in England, his mother was born British. Leo's war leads him into the secret world of Signals Intelligence, while the suspension of the moral law in time of conflict raises issues which he struggles to reconcile with his conscience and the ethics of his upbringing.
Bill is South African, a talented young rugby player at the same school as Henri and Leo, and heads for Cambridge on an RAF scholarship. His ultimate test comes from a least expected direction and a woman who has already suffered terribly.
Elizabeth’s home was Munich until her father becomes a professor at the Pasteur Institute, and she starts her own medical training in Paris. Her crucial decision to return to Germany conflicts with the circumstances of her family and the legacy of its past. Alone and threatened, Elizabeth escapes to the deserts of North Africa and the man who will change her life.
Four young people, forced into conflicting allegiances incompatible with the morality of their backgrounds, reach out to one another to preserve friendship and survival.