This is the second volume in the author's series featuring bank officer Naoki Hanzawa and cohorts who joined the bank during the high-flying bubble-economy years. Hanzawa subscribes to the view that people are fundamentally good, but also believes in giving double the payback if anybody does him wrong.
The venerable Iseshima Hotel has accumulated massive losses, and Hanzawa, now working at Tokyo Chuo Bank, is ordered to come up with a plan for getting the establishment back on its feet. To add to his headaches, rumors are flying that the Financial Service Agency is planning an inspection soon. If the FSA audit casts doubt on the bank's ability to recover the loans made to Iseshima, the bank might be forced to set aside a reserve fund to the tune of hundreds of billions of yen (= billions of dollars) to cover the potential losses. The resulting hit on the bank's own performance figures would almost certainly put President Watari Nakano's future with the bank in jeopardy. Hanzawa must come up with a recovery plan for the hotel that will also allow the bank to pass the FSA audit.
Tokyo Chuo Bank is the product of a merger that took place some three years earlier between Sangyo Chuo Bank and Tokyo Dai-ichi Bank, and friction between the two factions remains to this day. There are also suspicions that the Kyobashi Branch continues to hide losses it has been carrying forward since it was part of Tokyo Dai-ichi. Hanzawa searches for proof of the concealment even as he battles almost single-handedly to right the ship of Iseshima under its current captain, President Yuasa.
Meanwhile, one of Hanzawa's original cohorts, whose services are on loan to affiliate Tamiya Electric, has been faced with persistent antagonism. He is seeking financing from the Kyobashi Branch when it comes out that the company has been using questionable accounting practices, further weakening his position. His way forward is blocked by the internal schisms.
Hanzawa and his fellow "bubble hires" had cast their lot with the bank in its glory days, but have suffered in the shadow of their baby-boomer superiors in the years since. They drew the short straw, and if they want to somehow change it into a winning one, they have no one to turn to but themselves. So into the fray they go with their pride on the line . . .