Adam, a 16 year old Malaysian, lives with his adopted father Karl, who is white and Dutch. Adam is troubled because he would like to find his brother Johan who he was separated from while at the orphanage. Malaysia is in unrest and on the brink of a civil war. Karl is kidnapped and Adam doesn’t know where to find him so he enlists the help of Margaret, who hasn’t seen Karl for years but who comes to realize, through her search for him, that she really cares for Karl. Adam will also realize that his real family is Karl. In the meantime, Johan is careening out of control in his very privileged adopted family because of his guilt concerning his betrayal of his brother.
Malaysia’s recent history and colonial past are explored as well as the themes of family, love, and betrayal.