Captain "Fancy Jack" Crossman has been sent to New Zealand, where the Maori Wars are in progress. His remit is to map the country and set up a network of spies. In conflict, he finds that the Maori are an honourable and formidable enemy. However, nefarious Europeans are at work, enriching themselves as land agents. Jack becomes entangled with one of these agents, the devious brother of his lifetime burden, Private Harry Wynter, and is in danger of being sucked down into a morass of wicked affairs.