The Chief of RAW, India’s foreign spy agency, SENIOR, meets with JOE ALVARES, from Europe Desk. Alvares has fragments of intelligence that suggest a major military threat to India. They must assign an agent to find out more. The most credible asset is Alvares’s prodigy codenamed BUTTERFLY but he is preceded by his notoriety.
Meanwhile a huge oil find in Indian coastal waters, by India’s richest man LALWANI, promises to upend the balance of power in oil markets and skyrocket the economy.
For years, Alvares has tried to create an elite team for operations outside India. A history of security failures and hawkish fervour, from a new nationalistic government, combine to allow RAW to recruit from the Indian diaspora. Butterfly has a bloody rite of passage into the unit. Despite misgivings, Senior backs him for a fact-finding mission in Europe.
Butterfly, a young man of Indian origin, has a brilliant civilian career in IT security and serves with distinction as a commando for UK Forces. When his parents die suddenly, he travels to India to perform their last rites. During the visit he kills several men while defending two women from being raped. RAW offer him an amnesty against the death sentence, in return for his services. He accepts the deal after evidence emerges implicating the British in the death of his parents.
Accompanied by his lover AMITA, Butterfly trails the cabal of Pakistani officers who meet in cities across Europe. After some setbacks to his efforts to know more, he seduces an Ambassador’s wife and blackmails her into bugging a meeting where the conspiracy is revealed. Their audacious plan is to destroy the nascent oil field.
There is disbelief at RAW. Senior wants to know more facts before he goes to his political masters. To Butterfly the solution is simple but it could be a gamble that triggers all-out war. Military officers expose the defensive frailties of India. War seems inevitable.
Petty personal agendas and rivalries among the politicos stall the decision-making. As a last resort, Senior goes to the Indian Prime Minister to present options for action. Eventually permission is given for OPERATION YUVRAJ. Butterfly is delighted to be back to his vocation – professional killing.
Can war be averted? What is the mission? Is there a sting in the tail? Will he succeed, to return another day?