Alan Cadbury is a professional archaeologist: a digger of ancient sites and a man who likes to unravel the mysteries and meaning of the past. For many years, Alan has worked with the 'Circuit Diggers', so called because they work the 'circuit', moving from one excavation to another, as new sites were opened, right across Britain. Most of the sites they dig are ahead of industrial development or new housing estates, gravel quarries, or roads. They are a down-to-earth bunch; some students, others professional diggers - but they all know what they want from life and work long hours, for very low pay. From the 70s to the 90s, Alan and his colleagues lived in abandoned houses or camped out on the edges of industrial estates. Feared by respectable citizens, they were always covered in mud, deeply suntanned and drunk (or stoned) on their days off. Like others on the circuit, Alan Cadbury is obsessive: he won't let problems lie, even when he's slumped drunk in a lonely bedsit, somewhere in the Fens. But there's another side to him, too: in the late 90s he helped to give a forensic archaeology course and there met Richard Lane, now a senior detective in the Leicestershire force. DCI Lane helps him tackle new cases. But this is his first big one: an 'honour killing', perpetrated eight years ago in Leicester. It's a dark tale of past wrongdoing and modern criminality. And it's not without violence. Alan's life may be harsh and at times unpleasant, but it's not likely to be very long, either. Oh yes, archaeology can be a very dirty business...