It is 1884 and France is at war with China. Stuart Sutherland-Bruce returns to England after a posting in China as a member of the English diplomatic corps. He meets the astonishingly beautiful Bian, an exotic woman who turns his life upside down with the power of his desire for her. As she continues to astonish him at every turn with the unexpectedness of her life and her responses to him, he falls deeply in love with her. But Bian did not wander into Stuart's life accidentally. She has orders to become intimate with him and prove he has been giving English secrets to the Chinese. Yet as she works her spell on Stuart, she learns he does not seem to be the traitor her British superiors assure her he is. Bian is caught in a trap: If she reveals to Stuart her real -- and shocking -- identity, she will lose the man she loves. If she honours Stuart's highest values and does her duty, then Stuart will be tried for espionage and hanged.