John Flory, a white timber merchant in 1920s Burma, has unorthodox views. To him, the Burmese culture and people should be appreciated as things of beauty and worth. To the other white members of the European club of which he is member, these views are dangerous, undermining the foundation of British colonial rule. Flory is drawn into a deadly rivalry when he befriends Veraswami, an Indian doctor, who is under the scrutiny of a corrupt magistrate.
Flory defies the convention of imperial bigotry in Burma by offering to help his new friend, but the consequences to him, and Elizabeth Lackersteen, the woman he loves, will be explosive.
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