The story is about six young men graduating from a military high school in Germany that enlist in the German Navy and find themselves posted on the Austrian man of war frigate SMS Donau that was assigned to a global trade expedition in 1868 by the Emperor of Austria. 

The six cadets are under orders to accompany a German army captain on the ship whose destination is the Kingdom of Hawaii whose name is Heinrich Berger who was invited by King Kamehameha V by way of German Kaiser Wilhelm to compose music as well as to conduct the Royal Hawaiian Band. 

The ship is severely damaged in a typhoon after departing Japan for Honolulu, Hawaii in late 1869.  As a consequence the ship was delayed for repairs in the Hawaiian Kingdom for several months during which time the six youths become spellbound by “paradise.” 

Shortly upon their arrival the six cadets meet a number of influential Germans that had already established two German communities in the Kingdom, with one of them on the island of Oahu and the other on the island of Kauai. 

Due to their extensive military training they are invited into the Hawaii Guard under the command of Captain Charles Zeiler, Jr. 

They all agree to accept the positions offered with the Hawaii Guard and desert their ship with the consequences being death by hanging should they ever return to their native land. 

The directive from their benefactors, Mr. Heinrich Hackfeld and Mr. Claus Spreckles, is to support the monarchy, however as the story progresses they become more and more torn in their support for those that gave them the opportunity to live in paradise and others that were determined to put an end to it and make it a Territory of the United States of America. 

Over the thirty year period from 1868 through 1898 they find themselves in the midst of an immense struggle.  Trying to do what’s right on behalf of the monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and at the same time becoming caught up in a wave of ever increasing pressure to at first compromise, and finally to change their perspective and capitulate to what becomes the inevitable outcome of secession and annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii to the U. S. as Far East trade becomes increasingly important to America and more and more Americans pour into the Kingdom of Hawaii to support the gravy train that eventually spans two thirds of the globe.