Jonathan Marcus was a promising young archaeologist studying at the American Academy in Rome, when a terrible accident during an illegal excavation resulted in a friend's death and Jonathan's expulsion from the academy. Jonathan abandoned archaeology for the law, developing a reputation as a skilful advocate for some of the art world's less scrupulous antiquities dealers. When his firm sends Jonathan to Rome to discredit the testimony of a prominent UN antiquities official, he's stunned to discover that the expert is Dr Emili Travia, a friend and fellow student at the academy who was also at the excavation. This chance reunion prompts Jonathan, against his better judgement, to help Emili as she searches for the fabled Tabernacle Menorah, a priceless historical artefact seized by Roman invaders in the first century AD and brought to Rome, where it disappeared. As they scour the ancient sites of Rome for hints to the menorah's whereabouts - deciphering clues to its location left by ancient spies and 18th century art restorers - it quickly becomes clear that they are not alone in their quest.
What follows is a treasure hunt like no other, a race to find the menorah in order to control a historical perspective of who can define - and redefine - the past.