What drove one man to set out to conquer the known world? What madness? What unquenchable desire? What love? Sebastian Burke, a British academic, has spent his whole life trying to understand the secret life of Alexander the Great and his slave bride Roxane. Now, with the Taliban forced underground, he finally has the opportunity to undertake the journey he has dreamed of for almost his entire adult life, a journey into the heart of Alexander's world, a journey to the lost city of Ay Khanoum in northern Afghanistan. Here, with the help of Claire Finch - a fiercely independent American documentary producer - he hopes to find and expose to the world the contents of the Royal Diaries of Alexander - the last copies of which were kept in the city before its destruction by barbarian invaders from the East. However, from the moment two American servicemen are murdered by Al Qaeda terrorists in the bar of their hotel in Tashkent it becomes clear that there is far more at stake than just Sebastian's reputation as a historian, and what started out as a quest to validate a lifetime of academic study quickly turns into a journey of discovery that will bring Sebastian face to face with his Rhodesian past - a past he has run from for more than thirty years.