Thailand, 1943: Thomas Ellis is a prisoner-of-war on the Death Railway. In stifling heat he endures endless days of clearing jungle, breaking stone and lugging wood. Struck down by disease and tortured by Japanese guards, he must stay strong - for Tom has made himself a promise: to return home. Not to London, where he once lived, but to Penang, where he found paradise and love.
London, 1986: Laura Ellis, a successful lawyer, turns her back on her yuppie existence and travels to South East Asia to retrace her father's past. In the place where her father once suffered and survived, she will finally find out how he got his Bamboo Heart.