Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curacao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand – until the freighter he and his mother are travelling to the United States on is torpedoed.When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently."But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.