Working undercover overseas is the furthest thing from Roy Mancini's mind. Then he responds to a “classified ad from heaven,” seeking someone to set up and run a new office in Asia. At last this mysterious client is revealed to be The Institute, a human intelligence (humint) task force that reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After The Institute hires Roy and trains him in the craft of espionage, he moves to Southeast Asia where he lives under deep cover as a coffee bean trader.
Following the recruitment of a clandestine agent from the island of Bali employed as the radio operator on a cargo ship chartered to North Korea, Roy befriends Sasha Popov, a Russian shipping executive, bon vivant, and jazz pianist. Popov is in fact a senior KGB officer whom Roy skillfully manipulates and recruits, driving him to reveal secret information about KGB covert operations.
As dots are connected, the confluence of intelligence provided by the Balinese agent and the Russian “mole” leads to the discovery of a potentially deadly international conspiracy—and leaves Roy Mancini to prevent a terrorist plot of catastrophic proportions.