When one evening in December 1948, Jon Heather's mother leaves him at Chapeltown Boys' Home of the Children's Crusade, he is certain she will come back. But just weeks later, he finds himself on a boat set for Australia. Promised paradise, Jon soon realises the reality of the vast Australian outback is very different. So begins an odyssey that will last a lifetime, as Jon and his group of unlikely friends battle to make their way back home.
In the depths of winter in the land of Belarus, where ancient forests straddle modern country borders, an orphaned boy and his grandfather go to scatter his mother’s ashes in the woodlands. But the driving snow also hides a frozen history of long-buried secrets. And as man and boy travel deeper among the trees, grandfather’s tales begin to interweave with the shocking reality of his own past.