China is a country in crisis. Feuding warlords battle for power, bandits sweep the rural countryside in seasonal raids and a Moslem rebellion arises in the west. One man may able to unite the nation, ousted General Chiang Kai Shek. However, other men also have a vision for China. Mao Tse Tung and Cho En Lai lead an ever growing Communist movement.
While the chaos of a multi sided civil war ravages the land Chiang is brought back from exile in Japan to consolidate power by leading an expedition to unify or defeat the warlords. All the time Japan feeds on China’s turmoil. Having taken Manchuria in 1931, agents of the Emperor move south infiltrating Shanghai and Peking, staging various “incidents” in attempts to excuse the violent actions of Japanese troops to the rest of the world.
Foreign soldiers, mercenaries, are the willing pawns in China’s wars. Men like Canadian engineer General Frank “one-arm” Sutton, American stunt pilot and spy Harold “Hilaire Du Berrier” Barry, British body guard and general enforcer Morris “two-gun” Cohen, along with scores of others made their services available to various parties in this oriental conflagration.
Finally, General Chiang consolidates his power, the Communists move west in a calculated retreat, and the Japanese march southward. Focused on the communists even as the northern provinces fall to Japan, a confederation of warlords kidnap Chiang and force him to confront the threat of his recent hosts. With the Communists as his allies Chiang reluctantly turns to all out war with the Armies of the Rising Sun.
With the formal conflict so joined China’s Soldiers of Fortune scatter to the winds.
Some like, Claire Chennault, remain in the employ of Chiang, others like Sutton are captured and imprisoned by the Japanese. However, those who can get away do, taking whatever jobs they can in the short interim before the conflict between China and Japan, along with so much else, becomes a conflict encompassing the entire globe.