Krabat, a beggar boy in early 18th century Lusatia, is lured to become an apprentice to an evil, one-eyed sorcerer. Together with a number of other boys, he works at the sorcerer's mill under slave-like conditions while learning black magic, such as guising himself as a raven and other animals. Every Christmas one of the boys has to face the master in a magical duel of life and death, where the boy never stands a chance because the master is the only person who is allowed to use his secret grimoire: The Koraktor, or the Force of Hell.
One Easter while performing an annual ritual near a small village,
Krabat meets a girl and falls in love, but has to keep the romance
secret in order to protect her. After witnessing his friends one after
one being helplessly slaughtered by the master every Christmas, Krabat
starts to sneak up at night to study the forbidden book. On the last
page of the book, Krabat finds a phrase saying: "Love is stronger than
any spell." This is used when he ultimately has to defeat his master for
the sake of love.