Lai Pek is a self-made man and proud of it. He has reached middle age a successful businessman and patriarch of a thriving family. His outlook on life is smug, self-satisfi ed and complacent. But no one goes through life unscathed and, like a tiger silently creeping through the jungle, adversity stalks Lai Pek, striking swiftly. Faced with a formidable business rival, a horrifying tragedy at his rubber plantation and a shocking crime that threatens the lives of those dear to him, Lai Pek must reassess his values and draw on an inner strength that he may not possess if he is to survive the crises that life has thrown at him. Set in a small town in peninsular Malaya in the 1930's, the story takes place against the colourful backdrop of the lives and customs of the Chinese denizens and the inexorable encroachment of modern ideas and infl uences on their long-held values and ways of life.