The siege referred to occurred in 1574 in Leyden and was one of the most important events in the revolt of the Netherlands against Spanish control. This fictionalized account deals with the boy Jan who was sent with his father to inform Prince William of the desperate situation within the city. They were captured by the Spanish and, after his father was injured, Jan had to escape and continue the trip alone. When he finally reached William, Jan was requested to return to Leyden with the news that the Spaniards would be driven out by the opening of the dykes and that relief would be brought to the Dutch by boat. The flooding of Holland was a dramatic incident, but just as the siege dragged on, so does this book. The greatest expression of intensity comes in italicized type which is used throughout.