In the spring of 1941 the Nazis invaded Greece, and by the end of April, they had invaded most of the islands of the Aegean, including the beautiful Lesbos, home of young Takis (Peter Kalellis).
While cycling to school, fifteen-year-old Takis was horrified to see a swastika flying atop the old castle in Mytilene, the island's capital city. Later in the day, the soldiers ransacked his home town of Moria, and a Nazi lieutenant confiscated his bike. That night, under cover of darkness, Takis violated the curfew to remove the direction signs erected by the Germans. So began the struggle against the invaders.
This riveting account of fighting and enduring the occupation is both a memoir of harrowing times and a story of Kalellis and his three idealistic, fiercely loyal young friends who defy the invading powers and suffer the consequences of imprisonment and torture. It is also the story of the people of the ancient city of Mytilene who cling to the hope of liberation and freedom for three long years.
On September 10, 1944, Lesbos was officially liberated. The four young men who survived the occupation were able to see the emancipation of their beloved homeland, and life gradually returned to normal as they went their separate ways. As Takis left for America, his comrade Papavasile handed him a small vial, saying, Take this with you, Takis. It is a little vial of earth - Greek earth. You can look upon it as an amulet to ward off evil and grief. There is nothing more precious, my son, than this little piece of Greece, cooled by nocturnal winds, baptized in the blood of the brave, and scented by Aegean breezes.
Takis kissed his hand. I'll keep it close to my heart and draw strength from it.
And some day, Papavasile responded, come back to us.