A terrible secret forces a family into a deadly conflict with an unseen persecutor.
Nick Paleologus is summoned by his family to help resolve a dispute which threatens to set his brothers and sisters against their aged and irrascible father. Michael Paleologus, retired archeologist and supposed descendent of the last Emperors of Byzantium, lives alone at Trennor, a remote and rambling Cornish house. A ridiculously generous offer has been made for the house, but he refuses to sell despite the urgings of his children, for whom the proceeds would solve a variety of problems. Nick accomplishes little in the role of mediator, and it is only when the stalemate is tragically broken that he and his siblings discover why their father insisted on rejecting the offer and what may really be the motives of the prospective buyer.
Their increasingly desperate efforts to conceal the truth drag them into a deadly conflict with an unknown enemy who, while carefully concealing his own identity, seems determined to force them into a confrontation with their family's past. Perhaps too late, Nick realizes that the only way to escape from their persecutor's trap is to hunt him down. But the hunt involves excavating a
terrible secret from their father's archeological career. And once that secret is known, nothing will ever be the same again.