Since the death of his mother, John lives a wandering life. He runs away from his home and loiters about Lucknow, where his father, an English officer in the Indian army, is stationed. When the 1857 Indian mutiny starts, John is caught outside the residency of officers. A holy man warns him of his danger if, in spite of his native disguise, he is recognised as English. The boy has no alternative but to accept the protection of the holy man and leave the city. During their journey, they find a little English girl whose parents have been murdered. Suddenly, while walking through the jungle, they blunder into the encampment of an army commanded by the maharani of Jhansi, one of the leaders of the mutiny. There they find a big ruby, the seal of Bahadur Shah.In 1988, the Spanish version of this book received the Lazarillo Award, one of the most important awards for children and juvenile books in Spain.