It’s 1906. Far from England, the Ottoman Empire ruled by the despotic Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid 11 is on the verge of imploding. Rival Great Powers, especially Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany, sit watching like crows on a fence, ready to rush in to carve up the vast territories, menacing England’s vital overland routes to her Indian possessions. At his medical practice in London’s Marylebone Watson receives a mystifying telegram. It’s from Holmes. ‘Dear Watson, if you can throw physic to the dogs for an hour or two I would appreciate meeting at the stone cross at Charing Cross railway station tomorrow noon. I have an assignation with a bird lover at the Stork & Ostrich House in the Regents Park which has excited my curiosity. Yrs. S.H.’
Watson finds the invitation puzzling. Why should such a mundane meeting at a Bird House excite the curiosity of Europe’s most famous investigating detective or anyone else? For old times’ sake Watson joins his old comrade-in-arms. Within days Holmes and Watson find themselves aboard HMS Dreadnought en route to Stamboul, a city of fabled opulence, high espionage and low intrigue. Their mission: at all costs stop a plot which could bring about the immediate collapse of the Ottoman Empire.