It is September 11, 1683, and the Ottoman Turks stand at Vienna poised to bring down the weakening citadel and impose jihad. Their sights are set on all of Europe.
Aleksy, a Tatar raised by a Polish peasant family, holds in his heart the wish to become a Polish winged hussar, a Christian lancer who carries into battle a device attached to his back that holds dozens of eagle feathers. As a Tatar and as a peasant, this is an unlikely quest.
When he meets Krystyna, the daughter of the noble who owns the land that his parents work, he falls hopelessly in love. But even though she returns his love, race and class differences make this quest as impossible as that of becoming a hussar. Under the most harrowing and unlikely circumstances, one day Aleksy must choose between his dreams.