The prologue shows how the pirate Blackbeard buried a chest and then marked its position on a map. At the beginning of the next few chapters, the reader is shown how the map ends up in the hands of heavy metal band, Cold Steel.
The story begins in Japan, where Cold Steel’s world tour is going badly. A series of accidents onstage leads to their manager, Andreas P, agreeing to smuggle drugs as alternative income, because he anticipates Cold Steel are going into decline. Andreas is arrested at the airport and the band’s Spanish and Portugese shows are cancelled. On arriving in the UK, Cold Steel’s new manager, Johnny Faslane is forced upon them by the record company. Johnny has never managed a big band before, and has to find his feet quickly.
Johnny has to find equipment for the band, as their tour inventory has been impounded in Japan. He has difficulties, faces opposition from the support band, and Cold Steel constantly get into trouble. As the tour progresses, the band tell Johnny about the treasure map, and tell him they want to look for Blackbeard’s treasure after the tour.
In France, the band disappear and all end up getting arrested. Johnny and the record company give the band an ultimatum, give excellent performances at every subsequent concert, achieve platinum album sales or the treasure hunt will never happen. The band achieve their sales, just.
The band and Johnny travel to the Caribbean island of St Clements, a former French colony now run by a long-haired ex-pat called Henri Chevalier. He offers to help the band in return for any treasure found. The band head to an island similar to the one on the map. They find a buried chest, but it only contains rocks. They return to St Clements, make use of the local university's faculty dealing with piracy, and head to a new location. Their hunt takes them into Ancadian territory. Ancadia is a totalitarian island state and Henri warns them to be careful.
The band sail to an island where they think Blackbeard buried his treasure. They discover the treasure. Then, as they are just about to reach international waters, they are captured by the Ancadians and taken to their naval base. The band are interrogated and Maxwell sends the naval commander on a false trail, giving the band time to try and escape. They break out of prison, take back the treasure and escape in their ship.
After hiding the ship in creeks and rivers in the day, and sailing at night. They nearly clear Ancadian waters when they are attacked and sunk by an Ancadian gunboat. The treasure sinks as well. The band cling to a piece of wreckage and are finally rescued by a ship from St Clements.
Shortly after the band arrive back on land, the Ancadian navy surrounds St Clements, and demands the surrender of St Clements. Henri tries to gain international support, but the rest of the world sees no economic benefit in helping them.
Johnny decides that Cold Steel should perform a concert to capture the world's attention, appealing straight to the people to protest to their governments to help St Clements. As he sets about organising the concert, he becomes involved with a beautiful reporter, Rachel Shaw. He has to try and keep Cold Steel’s involvement with Ancadia secret in the face of her persuasive charms.
The concert is arranged on a shoestring, encountering many setbacks, and only just goes ahead. Following the band’s appeals during the concert, The American government forces the Ancadians to return to port, assuring St Clements that a negotiated settlement will happen.
The novel ends with the band being ordered back to the studio to record their next album.