Tintin finds himself in the middle of a mystery involving a drowned man, a tin of crab meat, and a piece of paper with the name Karaboudjan on it. He follows the clues to a ship by the same name and finds its crew is using the crab tins to smuggle opiates out of the country, and all under the nose of the ship's drunken captain Haddock.
After Tintin & Haddock successfully escape from the Karaboudjan, they now find themselves lost in a desert. After passing out from the long walk through the vast hot sand they were rescued by an army that is stationed at a fort. After receiving water and camels for transportation, Tintin and Haddock head towards the nearest town. While they're there, Haddock discovers that the Karaboudjan is there only under a different name while Tintin discovers that Alan the Skipper who is leader of the crew's drug business is present in town. The only way to stop the mutiny crew is by finding the kingpin of the operations and Alan is Tintin's only link in finding the base of their operations.
After learning about the opium being smuggled from India, Tintin heads over there in a plane he stole from an Arabic army that was in cahoots with the syndicate. Once he arrives there, he encounters Dr. Sarcophagus and asked him what has happened to him. Unfortunately the doctor isn't himself and is suffering from a poison that causes a him to go mad and not be able to think straight. Tintin had no choice but to seek medical help for the doctor, only to discover that there are syndicate members out to get rid of him.
After the arrest of most of the members of the drug syndicate, the leader behind the organization was never found and is still at large. Tintin, who is enjoying his stay at the palace of the Maharaja, is visited by a Chinese gentleman who brings Tintin a message. However, a poison dart containing the madness poison was struck right into the massager's neck by an unseen marksman. The only clues Tintin received from the now mad messenger is that there's trouble in Shanghai and a man named Mitsuhirato, which is the place where the remaining members of the syndicate remain. So Tintin heads for Shanghai to meet Mitsuhirato, however upon meeting the person Tintin was almost assassinated twice upon his visit in Shanghai. He ends up being saved by a young Chinese man who provides him with a disguise in order for him to not be easily recognized by the syndicate. Who is the mysterious young man who prevented Tintin's death and can Mitsuhirato be trusted?
The only way to save those who have been injected with the madness poison is by finding a doctor who can provide an antidote to cure them. However the doctor was kidnapped by the syndicate and is now being held hostage in Hukow outside the border of Shanghai. To make matters more difficult, Mitsuhirato has ordered the Japanese army station at the border of Shanghai to arrest Tintin if seen trying to exit the border of Shanghai. Tintin, will have to try to escape from Shanghai and head for Hukow to save the doctor and put an end to the syndicate once and for all. As well as learning who the mysterious leader of the organization is.
When Tintin learns that his friend, Chang (from "The Blue Lotus") was in a plane crash in the Himalayas. Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock go on the dangerous and somewhat impossible journey to find him.
When cars start exploding in their home country and it leads to a soon-to-be serious oil crisis. Tintin, along with Thompson and Thomson travel to the Middle East to get to the bottom of the situation.
Tintin, Captain Haddock, Calculus, the Thompsons' and Wolff uncover the wonders of the moon. They also discover another person aboard the rocket ship who threatens to leave them all stranded on the moon.