Egypt 2153 BC, eighty priests set out under cover of darkness into the western desert, taking with them a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Four weeks later, having reached their destination, they calmly slit each other's throats...Albania, 1986 A plane takes off from a remote airfield, bound for the Sudan. On board a cargo that will forever change the Middle East. Somewhere over the Sahara the plane disappears...The western desert, the present day A group of Bedouin discover a mummified corpse half-buried in the dunes. With it are a roll of camera film and a miniature clay obelisk inscribed with a curious hieroglyphic sign...Three unconnected events Or so it seems until Freya Hannen arrives in Egypt for the funeral of her sister, a desert explorer who has inexplicably taken her own life...For Freya it is the start of a terrifying, life-or-death adventure - one that will lead her and Egyptologist Flin Brodie deep into the forbidding wastes of the Sahara. Their goal: one of archaeology's greatest mysteries and the astonishing secret at its heart.