West Lambert, a retired CIA operative and business mogul, agrees to help the Agency discover the secret behind a cutting edge computer chip manufactured in Lushan which could affect the economic balance of power in the world. He learns that a revolutionary drug, "Joss" developed by his former nemeses, Shih Liping, whose son Lambert killed thirty years earlier in Laos, is responsible for the industry changing success at Lushan. Shih, partly to avenge his son's death, plots to gain control over America's economy by introducing "Joss" to greedy American industrialists seeking the astonishing productivity gains the product offers, only to later alter Joss' molecular structure to render it highly addictive. This tale of intrigue, love and revenge spans three decades from the 'silent war' in Laos to Hong Kong where Lambert falls in love with Bergita, a beautiful courtesan who he believes died in a boating explosion, and to the seats of power in present day America. Lambert is asked to return to China to steal the formula for Joss, but is betrayed by his lover, Ping, whom he learns is Shih's daughter. When Shih reveals that Ping was conceived after Shih kidnaped and raped Bergita, Ping turns on her father and helps Lambert escape and destroy Joss.