Pam Chun is a master storyteller and captivates the reader from the first page. L. Ah Leong is a poor Chinese immigrant who comes to Hawaii seeking a better life. Through hard work and diligence he amasses a fortune to declare to himself and those around him that he is a great man. The money, however, brings with it greed, a lust for power and destruction of the family. Set in territorial Hawaii one also gain insight into the injustice brought against the Hawaiian and Chinese population by the United States government and those who claimed to represent it.