The sound of mocking laughter echoes round Christopher Milnar’s head. Half a century ago, he was posted to a Chinese resettlement camp in the Malayan jungle called the Village of Everlasting Peace. Now the ghosts of that time – Charles Dulwich, who was driven to suicide, and Mrs Ho, torched by Red insurgents – visit him daily in his East London tower block, taunting him and triggering vivid memories of his younger days as a colonial adventurer. Surrounded by poverty and squalor, terrorized by Communist guerrillas, Christopher fell passionately in love with Chinese nurse Evangeline, only to be betrayed, beaten, and left for dead. Nonetheless, Christopher has gone on loving her into his old age. But neither the ghost of Evangeline nor the other woman he yearns for, his dead daughter, Frances, has ever returned to visit him. Until Adam, his grandson, embarks on a quest to piece together the fragments of a family torn apart.