Newlyweds honeymooning in Cairo stumble into a hornet’s nest of American-Chinese political intrigue. Nicolas McCayne, who once served as U.S. Naval Attaché to Egypt, is now an associate professor of international relations at Denver University. His capriciously adventurous bride Laura is a successful Denver trial attorney.
Things take an unexpected turn for the couple in Cairo during a diplomatic reception for Tsun Ziyang, a man the CIA believes is plotting to become China’s next president. Sparks fly as Nick and Tsun argue the politics of Tiananmen Square and further intensify after Tsun and the McCaynes embark on the same five-day Nile cruise.
Aboard ship Tsun’s tiny red notebook falls into Laura’s hands. Chinese and Egyptian thugs working for Tsun commit murder while trying to recover it. Convinced the notebook contains crucial intelligence information, the newlyweds risk death attempting to get it into the right hands.
They are aided by a mysterious stranger, British soldier of fortune Michael Hastings. Together they flee the killers in a desperate race through the Sahara to Alexandria where they face a nail-biting escape from Egypt by boat. Matters conclude in Washington with a surprising twist that reveals how Chinese takeout can be murder.