In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. There are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.
Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who mesmerizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels.
Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, goes missing, Marta fears she has been taken by this evil man. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, San Francisco’s most prominent citizen. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them.
Marta becomes caught in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens, brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm. For lurking in the shadows is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man’s hypnotic embrace