Franz Bauer is a farmer’s son living on family land in Hesse Kassel when he is forced into the Prussian Army. He becomes a soldier, hired out to the British to fight American revolutionaries in the War of 1776. Trained under brutal conditions, Franz learns the art of warfare using the musket and bayonet and is taught discipline by a sadistic senior sergeant.
Training completed, Franz’s company joins the Hessian Second Division and sails on a troop ship for the American Colonies. He makes unexpected friends with a British Marine private and a Navy Lieutenant. Once arrived at their intended destination, Franz sees his first action in the battle of White Plains, New Jersey Colony, where he experiences the savagery of war.
Things eventually turn sour for Franz and friends as they are unjustly accused of crimes and tortured for British political gain. Not only must he face injustice, but Franz must also face capture. There is a decision to be made: does he continue to serve the British who forced him to fight or does he use his well-honed skills to help the revolutionaries find freedom?