Joss Lambert has always been a loner, constrained by a secret from his past, until he finds friendship and solace firstly with Guy Liddell, a friend from school, and then with Guy's family, who welcome him into their farmhouse home. Joss increasingly comes to depend upon the Liddells and treats Alvesdon Farm as the one place where he feels not only appreciated but also truly happy. But in late 1930s England, the idyll cannot last. With war looming, Joss is forced to confront the past. He escapes through flying, becoming a fighter pilot in the RAF. But with the onset of war, even the Liddells' world is crumbling. As Joss is fighting for his life in the Battle of Britain, so he begins to fall madly in love with Stella - Guy's twin - but with tragic consequences. Leaving England and the Liddells far behind, he continues to fly amid the sand and heat of North Africa's deserts, flying above the 'Desert Rats' of the 8th Army, until his hopes and dreams are seemingly shattered for good...