In the fall of 1987 Nathan Schuett, until recently an English teacher at a prestigious language institute, has two dead Europeans to explain to the Beijing police. Nate knows something that he can't reveal and in order to hide that, he has to tell a whole lot more. Set before the Tiananmen uprising and the fall of the Iron Curtain, 'Farewell the Dragon' looks at the international quest to 'win' China during the last throes of the Cold War. Nate is a quirky but passionate teacher, yet he wants more - more money, more romance and more insight into the intrigues that swirl around the foreigners who lived in Beijing during this period. An ancient 'stele' or tablet engraved with Chinese characters is found and then disappears. Rumors fly about its significance. The hunt for the stele takes on consequences that extend far beyond that normally associated with an important archaeological discovery. But Nate, while entangled in the hunt for the stele, is after a far bigger prize - the true love in his life.Beijing is the backdrop - Peter O'Toole cruises around on his old bicycle while shooting 'The Last Emperor', students plot their next move to gain more freedom in China, the old neighborhoods are losing out to skyscrapers while foreign businesses struggle to make money in the pre-capitalist days before 1989.
Wild drinking parties on the roof of the Friendship Hotel bring old enemies together. The real China comes into focus when Nate travels to Xian to find a Daoist musician and his beautiful assistant. Through it all, Nate struggles to follow his heart and be true to himself.