Olivia Harland is enjoying her stay with her aunt and uncle in the Western Hills fifteen miles from Peking. It is 1900 and the air is heavy with the talk of Boxers, the Chinese rebels who are driving the Europeans from China.
Adam Ross is a doctor in the Northern Provinces. His Chinese wife has been brutally murdered in a Boxer attack, and he is leaving Peking after depositing his baby son there for safety.
As he departs, Olivia rides out into the Western Hills to contemplate a proposal of marriage from handsome young diplomat Phillippe Casanaeve, and it is then that the Boxers attack . . .