On the edge of a small town in New South Wales, far from the battlefields of the Second World War, lies a prisoner-of-war camp housing Italian, Korean and Japanese soldiers. For their guards and the locals, many with loved ones away fighting, captive or dead, it is hard to know how to treat them - with disdain, hatred or compassion? Alice, a young woman leading a dull life on her father-in-law's farm, is one of those with a husband held prisoner in Europe. When Giancarlo, an Italian POW and anarchist, is assigned to work on the farm, she hopes that being kind to him will somehow influence her husband's treatment. What she doesn't anticipate is how dramatically Giancarlo will expand her outlook and self-knowledge. But what most challenges Alice and the town is the foreignness of the Japanese inmates and their culture, which the camp commanders fatally misread. Mortified by being taken alive, they plan an outbreak, to shattering and far-reaching effect.