Philip is half-British, half-Chinese, but discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who becomes his sensei - to whom he owes absolute loyalty. Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture, and trains him in the art and discipline of Aikido. Forced into collaborating with the Japanese to safeguard his family, Philip turns into the ultimate outsider, trusted by none and hated by many.
Tormented by his part in events, by deaths he is powerless to prevent, he risks everything by working in secret to save as many people as he can from the savagery of the invaders. In so doing he finds out who and what he really is.