This novel is the account of best friends Michael and Wolfie who are growing up in Nazi Germany. In 1943 when the two boys turn 16, they volunteer for the 12th SS Hitler Youth Panzer unit, and find themselves coming of age on the battlefield. They have both left behind secrets that have altered their loyalties, and now struggle to survive day by day. The boys are caught up in some of the biggest battles of WWII, and they sometimes have to fight against the Canadians. The novel contains much information about the Hitlerjugend and the ways in which young people were persuaded to volunteer and then to join in active combat. They eventually come to see the ugliness of Hitler's plans and turn against their Nazi commanders.