Louis Trebor, a robust and mysterious loner, lives alone in an isolated woodland compound on the French-Swiss border in the Jura Mountains.
An enigmatic figure and emotionally distant father, he has little contact with his grown up son, Sidney -- who lives near Geneva with his wife, a Swiss border guard and young family -- seemingly preferring the company of his dogs.
Trebor's emotional contact is seemingly limited to an affair with a local pharmacist and a wordless attraction to a beautiful and equally aloof dog breeder. An ailing heart forces Trebor to leave his snow-covered wilderness to visit a bank vault in Geneva in order to withdraw enough cash for a new heart on the black market.
Shadowed by a mysterious, unnamed Russian woman, Trebor recovers from a clandestine transplant operation, and travels to the bustling markets and shipyards of Pusan in Korea.
Here he agrees to buy a boat and starts on a voyage south, slowly threading his way back to his former home on a remote island near Tahiti, where he searches for the lost son he fathered years before. He is uncertain of the welcome he will receive after all these years.