Karolina Ferreira, an entomologist, goes to a small Free State town to do research on the survival strategies of a rare moth species. The elusive moth is the story of a woman amongst men. Karolina stays in the local hotel where she meets up with some fascinating - mostly male - characters - the enigmatic lawyer, Pol Habermaut; the lecherous lieutenant Kieliemann; the inscrutable town magistrate; the destructive captain Gert Els; the wealthy but suicidal farmer, Tonnie de Melck. During the day Willie September, a natural healer, introduces Karolina to the mysteries of the drought-stricken veld. At night she is introduced and exposed to the town's political intrigue and power games while playing snooker, drinking whiskey in the ladies bar, and dancing the tango with a certain Mr Kolyn, who may or may not be a police informer.