1935, London's grimy docklands: Dominic Walker, 11, has stopped speaking. Life with an ailing mother, unemployed father, and unanswered questions about the war that haunts his family lead him to retreat into silence. Then Uncle Roo invites Dominic and his little sister, Marlo, to spend the summer on the Cornish coast. There the children discover a free-thinking, unstructured way of life. But the idyllic holiday is threatened when a village uprising tests Dominic's emerging friendship with a one-legged Gypsy girl. He decides to take a stand for justice and the victimized community.