In the autumn of 1940 a youngster, bombed out from an orphanage in London, arrives in the village of Widdlington to live with his pious spinster aunt. The village, far from being a peaceful haven, is divided into several gang territories each with its leader and traditional customs and taboos. The new arrival must discover how to find his way through this territorial minefield. In doing so he forges various friendships but also makes enemies. Violence is part of the scene and the evacuee knows that sooner or later he must either fight the school bully or submit to his tyranny. He's not, despite appearances, the submissive kind. At home he has to reckon with his aunt, who imposes a strict religious discipline. They clash and this, exacerbated by the stress caused by gang rivalry, creates several extremely tense situations. The conflict leads him to take revenge on his aunt. Most able-bodied men are away in the armed forces so the women and girls play an increasingly important role in the daily life of the village. The girls at the village school grow more assertive and alliances between various gangs result in undercover deals and the betrayal of gang secrets. Friendships between the children are affected by the newcomer's arrival. These changing relationships inevitably play their part as events unfold. The attitudes and conventions of the adults are not always shared by the children who have their own codes and their own ways of circumventing adult authority. Despite this, the newcomer becomes a victim of adult prejudice when he falls in love for the first time in his life. This relationship, like that of Romeo and Juliet, is doomed from the start because of the religious prejudices of the two families. The story of the un-named evacuee takes us back to the world of our parents and grandparents. But the hero's struggles are universal, whatever the time and place; love and hate, power and influence, territorial conflict and a sense of belonging.