It was hunger that drove 12-year-old Boris and his friend, Nadia, to forage for potatoes in the forbidden no-man's-land that lay between the Russian and German lines outside the beseiged city of Leningrad. But the long walk in the bitter cold, through miles of ice and snow, was too difficult for Nadia. As she lay on the ice, collapsed from exhaustion, Boris was at his wits' end. When a German patrol rescued the children and delivered them safely to the Russian lines, Boris learned that the hated enemy were not monsters—just ordinary men like any others—and that in war, everyone is the victim.
Set in Leningrad during the dreadful 500 days in 1942-43 when it lay under siege by the German army, Boris is the story of a courageous boy who faces the bitter life-and-death realities of war and human survival, and, with a growing sense of compassion for all mankind, looks hopefully toward the future when all men can lay down their arms and embrace one another as brothers.