December 1940 and England lies under German occupation. In the West Country, Nick Penny comes home after four months as a prisoner of war to act as interpreter to the provincial governor. He finds his father dead, his mother crippled, and his best friend Roy heavily involved in a resistance movement. When war hero Matty Cordington returns to run his father's estate, the three friends are re-united in a common purpose. Everywhere there is the stench of collaboration as Nazis fulfil Hitler's threat to corrupt the countries he conquers. With less food supplies and growing demands on civilians to labour in the Reich, life in Britain becomes a compromise at every level, including Nick's sister Joan sleeping with a profiteer to find food for her family. There are few heroes, many collaborators - and one master traitor who can lead the Gestapo to every Resistance leader in the country. As Coronation day for a new monarch dawns, Nick sets off in a desperate race to reach London and intercept the traitor - and the scene is set for history to lurch once again.