In the grimy London docklands of 1935, eleven-year-old Dominic Walker has stopped speaking. Life with an ailing mother, an unemployed father, and unanswered questions about the war that haunts his family lead him to retreat into a world of silence. Then Uncle Roo invites Dominic and his sister to spend the summer on the Cornish coast. In a boarding house full of eccentrics, the children discover a free-thinking, unstructured way of life unlike any they have known before. The idyllic holiday is threatened when a village uprising against a band of Travelers tests Dominic's friendship with a Gypsy girl. He decides to take a stand for justice and the victimized community, and learns what it truly means to have a voice.