Vartan Apelian is only two when he loses his parents in the first large-scale massacres of the twentieth century. It is not until his mid-teens that he realises the tragedy of the past. He emigrates to the States in the 1930's and then talks to the survivors of a homeland that no longer exists. The compelling eyewitness accounts of the atrocities haunt him. He traces his Armenian roots during his historical research and scrupulously typifies his people's strengths and weaknesses. What changes Vartan's whole life completely is the day when he discovers, to his amazement, that his mother, now a forgotten very old woman converted to Islam, has survived the massacres.