Based on the life of the author's great-grandfather, James Owen is the account of one man's life and the trials that he has to face. His parents are a loving couple, very proud of their firstborn, a clever and honourable boy. His academic ability is recognised by the local vicar and James teaches his school's younger children.
But the reality of his life is harsh. He experiences deprivation when his father loses his job and the family face hard times. James eventually finds a job in Swansea and is lucky in love and starts to produce a family of his own, but disaster strikes when he too loses his job. With no other work prospects, he joins the army and finds himself in South Africa, fighting in a famous battle.
His survival is already known, but on his return home, he is faced with a murder charge. Will James be exonerated or found guilty?