A dying man's final words send two people to Gregory Arkadin, a mysterious and much-feared billionaire who lives in a Xanadu-like castle. Guy Van Stratten, an adventurer and fortune hunter, is interested in Arkadin's money -- and his daughter, Raina.
Arkadin, overprotective of his daughter, has his "secretaries" prepare a damaging dossier on Van Stratten -- entitled "Confidential Report." But, Arkadin then makes a deal with Van Stratten -- he will pay the young man for preparing a similar file on him, for Mr. Arkadin says he remembers nothing about his past and does not know where he came from.
Even his name is a mystery. Van Stratten's search for the truth about Arkadin's past takes him throughout Europe and to Mexico and features encounters with a variety of fabulously colorful characters.