There, stuck in the muddy bank, was a piercing grey eye! Jubilantly, twelve-year-old Itam reaches for it, knowing it belongs to the English Rajah of Sarawak who, blind in one eye, has a large supply of glass eyes which he carelessly loses when trekking his beloved jungles. Itam hurries to show off such a powerful omen from the spirit world at his Iban longhouse, the only home he has ever known despite his blue eyes and fair skin. But almost immediately disaster strikes when Colonel Brereton of the Sarawak Rangers orders the burning of a neighbouring longhouse as punishment for performing a headhunter's wedding. Itam saves Brereton from a deadly attack by the groom but, because of his white blood and the eye, his jungle valley deems him responsible for the recent disaster. Feeling like an outcast, he is forced to leave all he loves for the strange, unknown white world of the capital of Sarawak where, guided by Brereton and under the benevolent eye of Rajah Charles Brooke, he eventually solves the mystery of his birth.