Amidst the Chinese slums of dockside Liverpool, everyone has a secret.
Corruption, racism and murder during the Luftwaffe's blitz of Liverpool’s Chinatown.
When British-Chinese Harry CHENG investigates the death of the prominent leader of the Chinese Sailors Union, he finds himself up against the Merseyside Police, nationalist thugs and the Chinese Unions themselves.
The more he pursues the truth, the more he threatens the unity of the fragile Liverpool Chinatown, and his own conflicted identity.
HARRY CHENG, a British-Chinese undergraduate, returns to Liverpool but Oxford has given him a taste of the British establishment. He’s embarrassed by his impoverished Chinese background. The dockside Pitt Street tenements have swollen to tens of thousands of Chinese sailors brought in to run the North Atlantic Convoys.
His University friend provides him with an introduction to ARTHUR MAITLAND, Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police. But his father, “TEDDY” CHENG, leader of the Chinese Sailors’ Union, is furious: the police are the enemy. Teddy proposes a strike demanding equal pay and war risk bonuses. But Maitland won’t let the Chinese hold Britain to ransom while they stand alone against fascism.
When his father is found dead in the blitz rubble, Harry believes he was murdered. He uncovers a community divided between those making money from the recent migrants, and those, like himself, who want to integrate into Britain. Who was behind his father’s murder? British political interests? Nationalist thieves? Or someone from the Chinese community itself? A rival organisation has emerged, making money from the trafficking of Chinese workers to Britain.
Amidst the slums of the dockside laundries, lodgings, and Unions, everyone has a secret. The more Harry uncovers, the more he begins to suspect he’s being used as a pawn by the Chief Constable. Divide and rule brings an increasingly unmanageable Chinatown to heel.
What emerges is not a simple “us against them” anti-immigrant battle. The colour of money matters more than the colour of skin. An unholy alliance has emerged between the embryonic organised criminal elements of Chinatown and the police. Harry seeks justice for the Chinese community, but also his father’s validation. But mainly he must decide where he stands, and who he really is.