Detective Sergeant Robson Alkan was working successfully as an undercover member of a street-crime unit based at Grain Street police station in London when the trouble started. Businessman David Cronrye was using redundant SIS agent Jerry Verity to wage a private-sector campaign against an industrial spy. Alkan became caught up in their manoeuvrings as an innocent bystander and he remained totally unaware of what was going on.
Alkan's job was to be Target, the street-crime team's victim for muggers. When he began to have health problems, Superintendent Clast, who had charge of Grain Street police station, began to worry that Alkan was going to claim that the stress of the job was affecting his health. Early retirement for Alkan with a big lump sum, Clast knew, would blast a huge hole in his budget.
Alkan's condition had a positive side as far as police work was concerned. He found himself able to identify predators with almost total accuracy and he soon attracted the attention of Detective Superintendent Pool, the officer in charge of a commercial crime squad. A transfer to DSI Pool's unit was followed by opportunities to work in Italy, Germany, Russia and Spain.
Success had its down-side too. As his police career thrived in certain aspects, Alkan found himself landing in more and more trouble. He attracted the attention of David Cronrye, who was one of the people involved in Pool's investigation, and Cronrye sought to neutralize him at first, and then persuade him that it would be a good idea to leave the police force and join the private sector.
Alkan realized that remaining a member of the police force might not be his own choice - not when he had police force internal discipline agencies and rogue coppers out to get him, and Jerry Verity and his hirelings trying to kill him. He found himself running out of conventional survival options and having to persuade others to become creative on his behalf.