New management in the seraglio bodes ill for Violet, and there are signs that the warlord has tired of Tatiana, her Russian lover. The warlord has his problems too. He dreads his upcoming confrontation with the concubine who bedevils his heart. She must be punished for unfaithfulness, but when he has had her whipped, will she then choose death before obedience? The Nanking government is increasing its pressure for him to submit. The British Consul has sent a note demanding to know if a Violet Harris is being held against her will. And then there are his troops. In a confrontation with the Kuomintang, when it comes down to it, will they fight?