When a brilliant young English doctor vanishes into the impenetrable forests of the northern Congo, intelligence chief Jack Milton sends a message to his godson, Luca Matthews, in the Himalayas, asking him to go to Africa and find Joshua. Reluctantly, Luca obeys; but he is no longer the man he once was. Meanwhile in Africa, brilliant pilot Beatrice (Bear) Makuru, also wants to brave the northern wilderness.
To Luca Matthews the dangers of the high mountain peaks are the air upon which he thrives. In the ruthless pursuit of his goals he would sacrifice anything - even another climber's life. His friends and family know and fear it. So when he sights a virgin peak in the Himalayas that exists on no map, no one is surprised when he becomes obsessed with being the first to scale it. Together with his climbing partner, Bill Taylor, they set off into a region of Tibet highly restricted by the Chinese.