A U.S. government investigator vanishes while on assignment in China. Former detective Lars Severin is hired by the investigator's family—mysterious scions of an international trade dynasty—to find out what happened to her. Was her disappearance the result of a random act of violence or something more sinister? Did she uncover something that drove a hidden enemy to make her disappear? Could she still be alive? Severin's quest casts him into a labyrinth of double-dealing and conspiracy, taking him from the misty streets and alleys of Seattle's old Chinatown neighborhood, to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., to the dazzling city of Shanghai, to the ancient heart of rural China. The case grows more complicated with each step Severin takes, until all at once he realizes that his own life is in great danger.