Joseph Tomasov experiences loss at a young age, being only three years old when his mother is placed in an institution and twelve when his father dies. At the age of nineteen, Joe is living in Czechoslovakia and working for a family as a tutor at the start of World War II. After being sent to a forced labour camp, Joe escapes and joins the Slovak resistance, fighting to free his country from the Nazi invaders. After the war's end, the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia complicates his plan to emigrate. Arrested and imprisoned for three years by the communist regime, Joe finally returns to his family until confronted again by another invasion, this time by the Soviets, and he must decide whether to risk losing the life he has rebuilt to once again find freedom.