The Great Powers are happily exploiting China for its cheap labor and reaping the rewards of its opium market, but the precarious balance of foreign interests is upset by the perennial troublemakers-the Russians. A flotilla of ships illegally enters Shanghai, carrying the last detachment of the defeated White Army.
Among the refugees is Klim Rogov, a journalist whose life and marriage were destroyed by the Russian revolution. Now his only possession is his quick wits and worldly acumen. To survive the lawless jungle called Shanghai, he employs many guises, working as a reporter in a British run newspaper, rubbing shoulders with international gangsters as well as fighting the sinister communist agents. But whatever he comes up against, he never gives up hope of winning back his beloved wife Nina.