The story begins in Africa when a young elephant, Tembo, having strayed from his herd, is capture by warriors. The frightened elephant is taken by force to a city, Carthage, whose emperor, Hannibal Barca, has a sworn hatred of Rome. At Hannibal's court our hero realises he has unfortunately been "recruited" in the Carthaginian army. He also comes to terms with the fact that his days spent with his friends wallowing in the mud to escape the African heat are over…and that not all living things are his friend…especially men. But our little elephant is not alone, there are other elephants from places he doesn't know who speak in languages he has never heard. Two elephants distinguish themselves from the others in Tembo's eyes: a lively Indian elephant, Rhundi, with a double personality problem (he believes his proboscis has its own personality and acts as his conscience), and Kiume, an elderly African Elephant, big and powerful as he is wise who will act as a mentor to our hero. Naturally the story is a fictional rather than historical recount of Hannibal's conquest of Rome, from the viewpoint of the elephant community, which gives way to two spectacular scenes: the crossing of the Alps and the final battle, during which the mentor is slain by the evil cheetah Ngare.