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The story is set in and around the fictional village of Althwaite in the West Riding of Yorkshire before and during the early part of the Second World War. It follows the adventures of Jem and his pal, Harold. They befriend the local tramp, tackle mysteries and spy on the rival Home Guard platoon. As the war impacts on the village, Jem is drawn into the lives of others: Benjy, the tramp, who tries to become a useful citizen; the squire who comes out of his shell to combat the threat of Hitler; evacuees from Hull; a female artist who is rescued from the clutches of suspicious local women; the veteran who lost a leg in the Boer War; and the wise woman who mourns the son she lost to adoption years ago.Then there is Alice, two years older than Jem, whom he admires: will the rift between them be healed. And will his Dad return safe and sound from the campaign in North Africa?

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