Leah Kolbe's father, a dealer in antiquities, left the business to her when he died. Now the Japanese have occupied most of mainland China and threaten the British colony of Hong Kong where Leah lives. When they unexpectedly invade, her fiance becomes a prisoner of war, interned under the harshest conditions with the rest of the colonialists. She escapes to Macau, arriving there penniless after everything - including her shoes - has been stolen.
Leah finds a job at the British consulate and is accepted into local Portuguese society. But when she is asked, she agrees to become a spy and to take a Japanese armaments manufacturer as a lover, putting her life in constant peril.