The tranquility in a Bulgarian village under Ottoman rule is only superficial: the people are quietly preparing for an uprising. The plot follows the story of Boycho Ognyanov, who, having escaped from a prison in Diarbekir, returns to the Bulgarian town of Byala Cherkva (White Church, today Sopot) to take part in the rebellion. There he meets old friends, enemies, and the love of his life. The plot portrays the personal drama of the characters, their emotions, motives for taking part in or standing against the rebellion, betrayal and conflict.
Historically, the uprising fails due to bad organization, limited resources, and betrayal. The way in which the Ottomans break the uprising down then becomes the pretext for the Russian-Turkish war, that brought about Bulgarian independence.