Stranger Than Fiction is a Victorian period drama, following the story of Richard Marsh – a penny dreadful writer with a gambling problem – as he embarks on a bizarre errand to pay off a debt he owes to an eccentric tycoon named Whitaker White.

Book One, The Red Flag, sees our hero travel half way around the world, to a small Chinese brothel on the banks of the Pearl River. There, he meets a mysterious old woman named Ching Shih, and discovers that this adventure will be far more treacherous than he had anticipated.