At first there were just the three of them who went sailing on the North Sea estuary in the years before the war - Guy, who was so handsome and so good at everything, Matt, his younger brother, determined to succeed despite everything, and Lizzie, their small, shy cousin who adored them both. Later they were joined by two more - Anna, the young Jewish refugee from Vienna, and Otto, a Berliner, sent to an English public school to perfect his knowledge of the language and to spy for his Nazi father.
As time passed, the tensions between them grew. Otto and Guy became fierce rivals at school and, in spite of his indoctrination against her race, Otto found himself fascinated by the beautiful Anna who despised him for his beliefs as much as she mocked Guy's conceit. Matt struggled to overcome his secret terror of the sea, while Lizzie battled with her jealousy of Anna. But there was one perfect summer's day when they sailed together on the sunny blue water and, in unaccustomed amity, carved their initials on the port bow of the Rose of England. Then the war exploded about them.
It was May 1940 when their paths crossed again, on the desperate retreat from Dunkirk - when the Rose of England, the little ship, against all the odds, sailed to the rescue.show more