After his father's death, Charlie Marryat, along with his friend Peters, joins the East India Company as a clerk and travels to Madras, India. There, they meet Robert Clive, an ambitious young man who had successfully quelled many a mutiny and gone from being a clerk to an able military leader. Bored of their mundane work, Charlie and Peters decide to enlist under Clive as private soldiers in the fight against the Dutch and the French. Their lives take a complete turn as they participate in several exciting battles and form lasting bonds with their fellow soldiers. But does Clive manage to defeat the determined French? And how does Charlie deal with the various dangers in India, including pirates, tigers and the Black Hole of Calcutta, not to mention the epic Battle of Plassey?