Edward Leithen is a young British lawyer who learns that one of his Oxford contemporaries, Charles Pitt-Heron, has just disappeared. Leithen learns from Pitt-Heron's wife that he has been forced to flee. By a series of fortuitous accidents, Leithen links the mystery to a retired East India merchant Julius Pavia, the latter's sinister butler Tuke, and to Lumley, an art collector, bibliophile and Establishment figure.
Lumley is also the head of an international organisation known as 'The Power-House' whose objective is to bring an end to civilization. Pitt-Heron, at first enthralled by the philosophy of this organisation, had to leave London in a hurry when he wanted to quit Lumley and his sinister objectives. When Lumley notices that Edward Leithen takes an interest in Pitt-Heron's disappearance, he threatens the lawyer and, later, tries to eliminate him by all possible means.
This report prepared by Daniel Staebler