The year 1631 is the book's focus, soon after the King of Sweden has invaded the German countryside. This family, and particularly their son John, are so impressed by the Protestant king and his army, they become followers, trusting him and his army to protect their Protestant cause, even as they flee their homeland to head north. In this historical fiction novel, the son joins the Swedish army and becomes a Swedish citizen while still on German soil. His example soon becomes a model for the family, including the two daughters, Karin and Jutte (You'ta), who are wandering nomads, homeless and looking for a peaceful and meaningful solution for their future.
In their escape north, this family meets others who are also on the run. Another family, who have also experienced much the same terror as our hypothetical family, joins them along the trail for a couple of days. This caravan of two families escaping north has a surprise intruder one night. He is a runaway pikeman who couldn't take the horror of the war any longer. He is a traitor to his army and after a tense robbery attempt upon these families, he becomes their friend, sharing and helping in their escape.
Our fictional family finally decides to become Swedes themselves and continue their trek to Rostock, a Baltic seaport in north Germany. It is here that they find help to secure a passage to Sweden, along with their son, who will serve in the Swedish army there.