When Japanese forces overrun Singapore in 1942, thousands of soldiers are taken prisoner. Eric Lomax, a 21-year-old engineer and railway enthusiast, is sent to work on the construction of the notorious Death Railway in Thailand, where Eric witnesses unimaginable suffering and is tortured for building a secret radio. After the war, he returns home, haunted by the face of one young Japanese officer, and shuts himself off from the world. When he falls in love with Patti, ten years later, it seems as if he has finally left the past behind. But, on their wedding night, the nightmares return. When Patti learns the whereabouts of the Japanese officer whose memory still torments her husband, she must decide if she will give this information to Eric, who is desperate for revenge, and stand by him no matter what decision he makes.