Shan Tao Yun is an exiled Chinese national and a former Beijing investigator on parole from the Tibetan gulag to which he had been consigned as punishment. He is ferrying a corpse on muleback over the slopes of Chomolungma—Everest—at the request of a local wisewoman who says the gods have appointed this task to him, when he encounters what looks like a traffic accident. A government bus filled with imprisoned illegal monks has overturned. Then Shan hears gunfire. Two women in an approaching sedan have been killed. One is the Chinese minister of tourism; the other, a blond Westerner, organizes climbing expeditions. Though she dies in his arms, Shan is later met with denials that this foreigner is dead.|
Shan must find the murderer, for his recompense will be the life and sanity of his son, Ko, imprisoned in a Chinese “yeti factory” where men are routinely driven mad.