For as long as Marisa can remember, her father, professor of ancient history at the local Virginia College, has corresponded with relatives in Brazil. This family left Virginia at the outbreak of the Civil War, absconding with bank money to finance their departure. When Sara, the mysterious matriarch of the clan in Brazil, alludes to a hidden treasure and offers to give it to anyone from America who would come and claim it, Marisa's father sees a chance to clear the family name and return the bank funds. Confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, he persuades Marisa to go to Brazil to search for Sara and the treasure. In Brazil, Marisa plunges into heart-stopping adventures. She discovers a mystery that only she can solve and finds the love of her life, whom she nearly loses, until she decides to fight for him as well.