Detective Zhong Fong, former head of special investigations with the Shanghai police, has been branded a traitor and exiled to a sleepy village in northwestern China. But his isolation comes to an abrupt end when two Party officials whisk him away in the middle of the night. They need him, they say, to investigate the murders of seventeen foreign businessmen aboard a ship on Lake Ching.
Fong hopes this is his chance to clear his name. He soon finds, however, that the case may be more complicated, and more perilous, than it first appeared.