The plot of the novel takes place in 2004 and concerns an Iranian terrorist group called "The Shadows". Led by Nasir Tarighian, it is the goal of Tarighian to use a weapon of mass destruction codenamed "The Babylon Phoenix" against the city of Baghdad as revenge for the actions taken by Iraq against Iran during the 1980s that resulted in the murder of his wife and children. While there really isn't much benefit to the group today, Tarighian attempts to sell the scheme to his organization by claiming that it would also create further disorder in Iraq and in the Middle East, which would inevitably cause the people to turn against the "West", namely the United States since Iraq is currently under their watch. Tarighian, a former "great warrior" during the Iran–Iraq War and often proclaimed hero in Iran, hoped that by doing this the Iranian people would rejoice and urge the Iranian government to invade and conquer Iraq after the U.S is forced out of the region. Most of the members of the Shadows disagree with the course of action, feeling that the result is extremely unlikely and that the scheme is nothing more than a 20 year-old vendetta by Tarighian to get back at Iraq for the death of his wife and children during the war. These members feel the same effect of destabilization in the region can be achieved by attacking either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem in Israel.