The locale for this competent but somehow familiar adventure thriller is China at the time the Nationalist government was crumpling and the Chinese Communists were on the march. Airman Alan Marriott, jobless after becoming innocently involved in a commercial airline scandal, is taken on by the British government to deliver aircraft to the Nationalist forces, and is surprised to discover that the Chinese consignee has sold the plane to American Garfield Tate. Learning that the political instability of the Nationalist government and the incompetence of much of the air force has led to the taking over of some Nationalist missions by Tate's commercial airline, Marriott signs on as pilot. Alan's personal life becomes bound up in all the military goings on when he falls in love with white Russian Lydia, betrayed by her degenerate brother Peter into the waiting arms of unscrupulous Colonel Wu who spirits Lydia's small brother Alexei as a threat to force compliance. In the midst of putting down aircraft pirates, and spiriting dignitaries and bullion out of the path of the Communists, Marriott traces Alexei, despatches Peter and Wu, and rescues Lydia...Terry and the Pirates with airplanes and no Dragon Lady.