Based on a true story, the book tells of an English woman's travels and experiences in the former Yugoslavia during the vicious fighting that saw its breakup. After the failure of her first marriage, in 1987 she moves to Amsterdam and there she meets and falls in love with Ilija Celar. They travel to pre-war Osijek and there Amanda experiences Serbian culture, relates humorous anecdotes, explores Kopacki Rit and other parts of Croatia. Following the election of Franjo Tudjman in 1990, Amanda and Ilija are made aware of the increasing tensions and are horrified by Croatian friends talking about racial purity. Following a sinister visit from paramilitaries to their home, they appeal to Josip Reihl-Kir the Osijek Police Chief, who tries to reassure them. Tragically, he is later ambushed and murdered by Croatian extremists. After witnessing the burning of Serbian and dissident Croatians books, maps and paintings, on the local piazza, Ilija receives a warning from a friendly policeman, that he is on a death list. He and Amanda flee, in the middle of the night, to Baranja where Ilija becomes very involved in the defence of the villages and is one of the original 19 fighters. Fighting erupts in Beli Manastir on the night of the 19th August 1991. Meanwhile, in London Amanda joins the Serbian Lobby with Prince Tomislav, Michael Lees, and other prominent figures.She hurriedly returns to Baranja in October 1991, after receiving the news that Ilija is wounded, The story tries to convey the terror, so many Serbians felt when they heard Tudjman's Ustasha rhetoric and symbols he reintroduced from the Ustasha fascist regime of WW2. Then comes the nightly terror of the shelling attacks from Osijek, the arrival of refugees and the harsh conditions the people of Baranja must endure during these months.