Bombay, 5 August, 1945. A young English Intelligence officer, Guy Perron, witnesses the interrogation of a returning Indian prisoner of war suspected of collaborating with the INA in Germany. The interrogating officer is Major Merrick. Afterwards he questions Perron, and discovers the young man was educated at the same school as Hari Kumar. Also present at the interrogation is Captain Purvis, alcoholic and suicidally depressed. He sends Perron with a bottle of rare Scotch whisky to attend a party at the flat of a beautiful Maharanee, with order to report back on any careless talk about the fleet which is assembling off-shore for the invasion of Malaysia. At the party he fins Sarah Layton, who has come to Bombay to welcome her father home, and also Count Bronowsky and young Ahmed Kasim. Sarah is escorted by Ronald Merrick. Perron and Merrick discover that Purvis has attempted suicide. They get him to hospital. Sarah, who is staying with her uncle and aunt in the same block of flats as Purvis, invites Perron for a meal. There Perron meets Colonel Layton for the first time. The colonel has clearly suffered as a prisoner-of-war, and he is also concerned about one of his men, who has been accused of treachery. Merrick has resolved that Perron shall join him in his task of rooting out INA suspects. Perron, who dislikes and distrusts him, has other ideas.