A boy in London's Limehouse witnesses a crime and is caught out, but that proves to be the least of his troubles.
Amid the squalor of London’s East End in the aftermath of the First World War a young boy embarks on his rites of passage. A virtual orphan, whose father has been traumatized by shell shock, struggles to survive life on the mean streets and with the enmity of their denizens.
His friend, a Thames waterman, is murdered and his niece enlists Malcolm’s help to find the killers. He is drawn to her but her association with volatile characters causes him doubt and conflict.
An eccentric aunt convolutes his life even more with her Bohemian ways and her involvement in the political intrigue and conspiracies that are rife in London.
International issues come to bear on the murders at hand. What chance has a twelve-year-old against the power of the megalomaniac who emerges from the shadows to threaten Great Britain’s foreign relations. In the den of iniquity that is Limehouse, London’s Chinatown, can a boy his age bear the weight of such responsibility?