The year is 1812. Fourteen-year-old Henri Carle has heard about Napoleon’s great victories his whole life. France rules the continent of Europe and the name Napoleon strikes fear in the hearts of those that face him. When France prepares to march to Russia with 500,000 men, young Henri has no idea that the army he has attached himself to will be reduced to a beaten rabble of barely 20,000 within six months.
During the buildup and the ill-fated Russian campaign, Henri goes from a shy boy who is unprepared for life on his own to a confident, courageous soldier. As he is maturing and becoming a man, the army is disintegrating around him. They face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in a desperate struggle to reach home. Utilizing actual incidents and events from the invasion and disastrous 500-mile retreat, this fictional account, as seen through Henri’s eyes, brings a crucial turning point in history to life.