This book is about a Scottish boy who grows up to be a great officer in the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus. He goes through all sorts of trials, fighting in the Thirty Years’ War in Germany.
Malcolm Graheme and his uncle Nigel Graheme are called by an old friend of theirs to join the Swedish army, which has decided to take part in the Thirty Year’s War in Germany between the Protestants and the Catholics. They go with the king, Gustavus Adolphus, to Germany along with 200 other Scotsmen. The entire army is made up of Scots and Swedes.
Immediately Malcolm proves himself to be a born leader and a good fighter. He molds himself after all the seasoned generals around him and becomes cool-headed even in the thickest battle.
The Swedish army immediately plunges into the war, helping the Protestants, which are in danger of being wiped out. They fight many battles and have close scrapes, Malcolm almost getting killed once. They sometimes win and sometimes lose, but the first was more common.
He is captured in a battle but he manages to escape, only to be captured again. He escapes a second time, this time to warn a nearby village called Glogau that his late captors, a band of freebooters, are going to attack them. With his help they save their village and they promise to do him any service he may ask for in the future.
After one or two more battles, Malcolm, along with twenty other men who are ill, are granted leave from the army until they are well. They go to Glogau and stay there until they are well. They receive news that the Protestant town of Mansfeld is under siege by the Catholics. They go to the aid of the town and defeat the Catholics, making at the same time a deep friendship with the Count of Mansfeld, his wife and their daughter, Thekla.
After rejoining the army and fighting another battle, they travel through the plains towards a town named Nuremburg. When they pass through peasant country the see that unfortunately the peasants have been turned against the Swedes by their priests. Malcolm has the bad fortune of falling into their hands but by a miracle he escapes, rescuing at the time four of his companions.
They defend a church tower against the peasants until Swedish help arrives.
After that there is a complex series of sieges and battles. During the last battle, the brave king, Gustavus, is killed.
A short while later, after the army has been disbanded and the different legions are roaming the country separately, Malcolm receives a message from the Countess of Mansfeld asking his help—they are prisoners and they want Malcolm to save their daughter and take her where she will be safe until the war is over. Malcolm does this, and places her safely in the town of Nuremburg. She stays there until Malcolm returns to Scotland. The Count later dies in prison and the Countess joins her daughter.
A peace treaty is soon signed between all the different parties. All the soldiers go back to their homes. Malcolm takes the Countess and her daughter with him to Scotland, where he marries Thekla. The Countess marries Nigel Graheme, Malcolm’s uncle, and they all settle down on their estates.
I enjoyed reading this book. I think it is well written and although it can be have too many minute details at times, I found it exciting overall. It is a good book!