Jamaica, 1938. Gloria Campbell is sixteen years old when a single violent act alters the course of her life forever. Taking along her younger sister, she flees their hometown to forge a new life in Kingston. But in a capital city awash with change, a black woman is still treated as a second-class citizen. From a room in a boarding house and a job at a supply store, Gloria finds her way to a house of ill repute on the edge of the city, intrigued by the glamorous, financially independent women within.
As a young boy, Pao comes to Jamaica in the wake of the Chinese Civil War and rises to become the Godfather of Kingston's bustling Chinatown. Pao needs to take care of some dirty business, but he is no Don Corleone. The rackets he runs are small-time, and the protection he provides necessary, given the minority status of the Chinese in Jamaica. Pao, in fact, is a sensitive guy in a wise guy role that doesn't quite fit. Often mystified by all that he must take care of, Pao invariably turns to Sun Tzu's Art of War.