Nicholai Hel born in the ravages of World War I China to an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father, raised in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go Master, he survives the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the worlds most artful lover and its most accomplishedand highly paid assassin. Genius, mystic, master of language and culture, Hels secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection . . . Shibumi. Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his magnificent Eurasian mistressHell faces his most sinister enemya supermonolith of espionage and monopoly. The battle lines are drawn. Ruthless power and corruption on one side and on the other Shibumi.