It is the summer of 1938 and Jerusalem is in chaos. The atmosphere teems with intrigue as terrorists roam the countryside and the British are losing control of the Mandate, even as Europe nervously teeters on the brink of World War II. Against this backdrop of international tensions, Lily Sampson, an American graduate student, is involved in a dig -- an important excavation directed by the eminent British archaeologist, Geoffrey Eastbourne. An important member of the dig is murdered as he makes his way to the opening of the Rockefeller Museum. At the same time, precious artefacts from the dig go missing, one of which is a beautiful blue glass amphoriskos which Lily herself has excavated. Upset by the loss, she searches for the vial -- enlisting the help of the military attache of the American consulate. But when she contacts the British police, they are evasive and off-putting -- unable or unwilling either to find the murderer or to look into the theft of the amphoriskos. Lily realises that she will get no help from them and sets out on her own to find the vial. When she finds the victim's diary in her tent, she assumes he had left it for her because he feared for his life. Lily's search for information about the murder and the theft of the amphoriskos lead into a labyrinth of extreme danger and intrigue.