After a poverty-stricken childhood, Robert Waller, now a successful businessman and firm believer in Buddhism and reincarnation, is obsessed with the idea of regaining possession of his fortune when he is reborn in his next life. When he finds out his death is imminent, he becomes terrified of repeating those impoverished years and so he devotes the time he has remaining to the task of assuring his comfort in his future life. To that end, he seeks the aid of an old acquaintance, Sir James Lorton, a well-known expert in oriental religions, to make a strange request: Waller asks Lorton to seek out the child in whom he is reborn, secure the perfect home for him, and, in due time, ensure that Waller alone enjoys the properties he has struggled so hard to amass.
The young man rejects such a preposterous request on principle. However, some years later, fate will ensure that the proposal is reconsidered, but will Lorton make the right decision?