Naive Wong Chia Chi is a college student in 1938 Hong Kong, to where many mainland Chinese have escaped from the bloodshed of the Sino-Japanese War. Her widowed father, abandoning her in China, escapes himself to England with her younger brother. On campus, she innocently gets involved with the politically active theater troupe led by Kuang Yu Min. Their plays protest the war, with Yu Min's stance particularly against any Chinese who collaborates with the Japanese. The productions' primary goal is to raise money for the resistance. Many Chinese do collaborate with the Japanese in part to maintain their upper class lifestyle. No longer solely content to hear the chants of "China will not fall" from their anti-Japanese audiences, Yu Min wants to venture into more direct activism by killing one of those collaborating with the Japanese, namely a Shanghai bigwig hiding out in Hong Kong named Mr. Yee to who they can get access through an old friend of Yu Min's. Despite all of them realizing that they know nothing about killing or espionage, they all agree. The expensive plot, funded by wealthy troupe member Liang Jun Sheng, involves Chia Chi acting as Mrs. Mak, the wife of a wealthy businessman, played by her fellow actor, Auyang Ling Wen. Although not originally the plan, Chia Chi becomes the center of the plot as she is the one who captures the attention of both Mr. and Mrs. Yee. The final act becomes more and more difficult to execute due to Mr. Yee's extremely cautious nature and despite his overwhelming evident lust for Mrs. Mak. The plot, which eventually involves those in the resistance who may have more expertise in espionage and killing, which moves to Shanghai and which covers the span of four years, changes Chia Chi fundamentally as a person, especially due to her developing love/hate relationship with Mr. Yee.