1900. The book begins: Three weeks had passed since young Professor Peter Hartwang had mounted a camel, and now, on the Sinai Peninsula, he had at last found traces of the person whom he had gone to meet. To gain time for this journey to the East, he had closed the winter term earlier than usual, though it was by no means with a light heart, for the chirurgical department of the great hospital whose head he was could ill dispense with his services. Since its management had been entrusted to his care, he had not left, even for a single week, the great university where he taught. If any one took a serious view of science and professional duty, it was he; yet the claims of the heart also asserted their rights in his broad breast.