It begins in Singapore, where a basket containing the severed head of a Russian naval officer is delivered on the steps of a major Western hotel. Then outside the city's shores, the luxury liner "Black Sea" is hijacked by the charismatic and fanatic Tengku Haji Azhar. The ship is cleverly concealed, and the impossible job of finding it falls on battle-trained naval captain Henry Stewart. But unknown to Stewart, he has an ally on board the "Black Sea" - Asian expert Maggi Chancellor who will use all her wiles in a terrifying negotiation to save the lives of both passengers and crew.
Caught in the grip of a madman's sinister ploy, Stewart and Maggi have little but a prayer and their own gutsy cunning to stop a madman before he can ignite a holy war that no one will survive . . .