World War II has just ended and like so many of his peers, Lem has been orphaned by war. With no family and no place to live, he wanders the war-torn countryside aimlessly and is soon picked up by Communist soldiers and taken to a children's orphanage for ideological "reprogramming". As a child whose parents were regarded as "enemies of the Revolution", Lem, along with his peers, will be forced to accept Stalin as God for the good of the Communist Party and the new Macedonia.
The orphanage itself is housed in a medieval fortress with high stone walls separating it from a vast lake. Headmaster Comrade Ariton, a rigid yet ambitious man, and the Warden's assistant, Comrade Olivera, a girl who obsessively worships the Communist ideology of the Great Stalin, rule the orphanage by fear and discipline.
But the orphanage has its secrets. Late at night, Verna, Ariton's beautiful wife, almost magically appears and walks by the walls of the fortress. None of the guards can see her, only Lem, as she brings him what he seeks most: hope.
With few friends, Lem looks to Isaac, a mysterious 13-year-old boy who has the courage to question the harsh communist authoritarians who run the orphanage, and the strength to endure the brutal consequences of such actions. With organized religion prohibited and no higher power to look to for guidance, both boys know their survival rests on each other's strength.