Henry J. Mann is a writer and expatriate living in Cambodia. His life is unraveling. His wife has kicked him out and he is living in a small room at an old hotel. Money is tight and the future seems uncertain. He keeps getting odd phone calls, first an RCAF Captain who needs his help, and then from a General who is looking for his daughter’s foreign lover. Could this be the same General’s daughter, and the reason for his present predicament?
Fearing the worst, he goes with the Frenchman to Laos to find a mystical opium den that he knows doesn’t exist. Is it pretense to get him back to Thailand to solve a riddle from his past? A motorcycle accident, the death of an old girlfriend, and three months wandering before arriving in Cambodia.
Henry travels back through time, his own past, and to a past life that he wished he had lived when Asia was truly exotic. The future is waiting. Will his wife stay at their house near the airport, or will she be out hunting wild boar, or the mythical white elephant of her childhood?
The story unfolds in modern day Cambodia nearly thirty years after the genocide, Phnom Penh, a freewheeling city where the old and new collide, and a motley collection of castoffs, bums, and madmen call home.