In the hot, rainy summer of 1955, Cambodia is in upheaval. The first democratic elections, just weeks away, will determine not only the future of a country, but the happiness of three people.
Sar is a quiet, serious schoolteacher, officially campaigning for the opposition, who is secretly working for an armed Communist takeover. Many years later, he will become known to the world as Pol Pot.
Somaly - young, fragile, beautiful - refuses to be tied down. She is the woman Sar loves, the woman for whom he is willing to sacrifice his most dearly held beliefs.
And Sary is the ruthless deputy prime minister - determined to keep the opposition from power by any means, and to make Somaly his lover.
Amidst the poverty and the cocktail parties, the silk dresses, the divided loyalties and betrayals, a love triangle unfolds which will decide the fate of a nation.