When Tom Brodzinski finally decides to give up smoking during a family holiday in a weird, unnamed land, a moment's inattention becomes his undoing. Flipping the butt of his last cigarette off the balcony of the holiday apartment, it lands on the head of the elderly Reggie Lincoln, and burns him. Despite Brodzinski's liberal attitudes and good intentions, the local authorities treat his action as an assault. Soon the full weight of the courts and tribal custom is brought to bear. What follows is a journey through a fantastically distorted world, a country that is part Australia, part Iraq and entirely the heart of distinctively modern darkness.