Charlie Johnson is a veteran war correspondent who thinks he has seen it all - until he makes one rash expedition into a war zone in the Balkans. Horrified, he watches as a woman who sheltered him is set on fire. As he tries to save her, he too is caught in the deadly fire that engulfs her. From then on, his life is consumed by the mission to find the man who did it - caught on film by his friend and cameraman Jacek. Drawing on his own experience of war zones, Michael Ignatieff probes into the damage that blights Charlie's life and threatens to destroy his humanity. Charlie has people who love him, not only his wife and daughter, but also colleagues like Jacek and the indefatigable and beautiful Etta. But once he is set on his journey of revenge, nothing and no one can stop him.