Harry Chesney is having a tough childhood. After losing his mother to tuberculosis and his father to alcoholism, he is orphaned in Victorian England. As a result of losing his parents, he finds himself working in a Victorian workhouse.
He then joins the army and rises through the ranks to become the Colour Sergeant and Victorian Cross Holder. However, after a devastating battle during an uprising on the North-West Frontier of India in which every man in his platoon is killed except him, his army career looks set to come to an inglorious end.
Eventually returning to England, Harry becomes the guardian of the illegitimate son of Captain Shervington, a late hero of the regiment. In the final twist of the tale, Ravi honours both his real father and guardian Harry Chesney by joining the army to fight in the Boer War…