In the early forties, Ted Garrick grows up in the American village Baxley, Georgia. The world is at war and the economic crisis can be felt everywhere. When Ted is dismissed at the cotton plantation, he decides to join the army together with his friend Blake. He plans to use his savings from his military wages to see something of the world after the war.
In the meantime in The Netherlands the young Edith Herkens and her Jewish friend Hannah suffer daily from the Nazi tyranny. When things become too dangerous for the Family Herkens because of their work in the Resistance, they leave for London.
When Thomas Notten, damaged in his youth, reads in 1988 the obituary of a Catholic friar, he nearly loses it. With the help of the eccentric psychiatrist Charlotte Broesder it gradually becomes clear why.