Retired lawyer and courtroom star Arthur Beauchamp is in Ottawa because his wife, Margaret Blake, the leader of Canada’s Green Party, is now its first MP. But he hates it there: the cold, the politics, his place in his wife’s shadow, the too-thin walls of the condo they are renting. So when a delegation of government officials from the Central Asian country of Bhashyistan is blown sky high on its way to the Ottawa airport, and the shares of a Calgary-based oil company promptly drop like a stone, Arthur can’t resist taking on the defence of the suspected assassin, a high-school teacher last seen getting into the back of a stranger’s car. Then the Conservative government, led by the toper Huck Finnerty, is plunged into crisis when Mad Igor, the dictator of Bhashyistan, declares war on Canada.
Meanwhile, on Beauchamp’s beloved Garibaldi Island, Arthur and Margaret’s goat farm is being taken care of by a couple of newly released, convicted eco-guerillas, a no small matter that brings both Arthur and Margaret to the attention of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service – and a scheming glint to the eye of its head of operations. Soon, Canada’s newest MP and the husband she eclipses realize they are being shadowed by possibly the most incompetent spy since Mata Hari.