Set in the long, hot summer of 1976, the novel follows the fortunes of Gregory Jolling of Department G6 of the Security Service and introduces Colonel Donald Johnstone of Department G11. Department G6 is enngaged in buying information on Euroterrorists from an information broker. Jolling's job is to observe the exchanges of payment for information and report on any outsiders, who take an interest in the exchange.
At stake is information on a British-born terrorist, who plans to return to the UK after plastic surgery to alter her appearance. Buying the information is the cheaper alternative to letting Frances Greeley begin a campaign of bank-robbing and murder.
The urgency to get the job done increases as G6 suffers a series of disasters, which put essential personnel on the injured list. Jolling sticks to his job through shooting and explosions, but he finds himself tripping over G11 personnel constantly. Colonel Johnstone is determined to get his hands on the information broker at any cost because his new boss has a score to settle with the Bluebird, as the information broker is known to G6.
Threats to the future existence of Department G6 complicate the business of the exchange and create opportunities for those ruthless enough to exploit them, or lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. For those like Gregory Jolling, who are just following orders rather than directing events, the flak seems to be coming from all sides...