When Cliff Hardy signs on as a bodyguard for charismatic populist Rory O'Hara, who is about to embark on a campaign of social and political renewal, it looks like a tricky job - O'Hara has enemies. A murder and a kidnapping cause the campaign to fall apart.
Hired to investigate the murder, Hardy uncovers hidden agendas among O'Hara's staff as well as powerful political and commercial forces at work. His investigation takes him from the pubs and brothels of Sydney to the heart of power in Canberra and the outskirts of Darwin. There he teams up with a resourceful indigenous private detective and forms an uneasy alliance with the beautiful Penelope Marinos, formerly O'Hara's PA.
A rogue intelligence agent becomes his target and Hardy stumbles upon a terrible secret that draws them into a violent - and disturbing - confrontation.