Summoned late at night to the Bureau, Quiller attends a secret conference with the foreign secretary and a surprise defector: the Chinese ambassador to Britain. Minutes later, shots ring out and the ambassador's body is flung out onto the sidewalk of a deserted London street, riddled with bullets.
Searching for clues, Quiller flies to Calcutta to meet Sojourner, a key ally in the plan to bring democracy to China. But Sojourner is killed--thus, two men, both dedicated to bringing freedom to their country, are dead. No wonder Quiller is skeptical about his next mission: to smuggle a Chinese dissident--who might be able to lead an uprising that would topple the despotic Chinese regime--into Tibet.
While the first rescue mission succeeds, Quiller and the rather intractable dissident he is guarding encounter enemies--some disguised as friends--after they land in Tibet's high-mountain and desolate capital Llasa. Quiller must use ingenuity as well as his incomparable combat skills to survive this deadly environment.