When Marcus Winslow appears at Private Investigator Makana's door one April morning, Makana does not realise that soon he will risk losing everything he has built for himself in Cairo. A representative of the British government, Winslow has come with a mission, one impossible to turn down: Ayman Nizari, an Iraqi scientist specialising in biochemical nerve agents, a man whose work could kill thousands, is on the run and asking for asylum. But he insists that he trusts only one man to bring him to safety: Makana. But why is Ayman demanding that only Makana can help him? And what part does Winslow have to play in this? The scientist has gone to ground in Istanbul, and Makana quickly discovers that in this place nothing is as it appears, in a case that will see his past and present collide with fatal consequences.