Qiang returns to his homeland of China from Silicon Valley to find Beijing undergoing a chaotic transformation in the lead up to hosting the 2008 Olympic Games. Wrecking balls are knocking down entire neighborhoods to make way for new structures more in line with the government’s vision of a modern China. The tumult inspires Qiang to shoot a documentary about the loss of affordable housing and the communities they created, which draws the attention of public security officials. When Qiang is suddenly arrested by local police it falls on his sister Diane and friend Jake, an American journalist who admires Qiang and his work, to try to figure out what to do. With different ideas about how to approach the vast Chinese security apparatus, Diane and Jake have difficulty trusting each other. Dawei, an itinerant Jake befriended years earlier, returns to Beijing to retrieve a memento that has suddenly become valuable and finds himself ensnared in a plan to force the authorities to release Qiang. Jake must then decide who survives.
Based on real events, Robert F. Delaney’s The Wounded Muse takes readers to a city and country undergoing a transformation on a scale previously unseen, where in the shadowed wreckage of forgotten communities people are pushed to psychological extremes to secure their position. In a society that promises endless opportunity – and unknown risks along the way – many end up defeating themselves.