A group of Filipinos and expatriates are living peacefully together on an idyllic island until a plan to salvage a Japanese World War II wreck and sell it for scrap divides the community along predictable fault lines: Filipinos, an American and an Australian vs. two Japanese, a German and a seemingly neutral Swiss.As the story unfolds and the characters are developed, nationality has less and less to do with anything. People of all stripes want gold for the power it brings. Some are willing to do anything to escape the crushing poverty they are born into. Others, whose fortunes are more assured, take advantage of their relative position or learn to show compassion. In the end, the fundamental choices that each character makes prove either soul-destroying or life-affirming for Filipino and foreigner, rich and poor alike.