In 1559, 49 Spaniards exploring a tributary of the Orinoco River reached a sheer-sided, cloud-capped mountain called Tepui Zupay. When they tried to climb it, all but six were slaughtered by Amazons. Or so claimed Friar Sylvestre, the expedition's chronicler. But Sylvestre made many bizarre claims: rivers of blood, plants that lead to gold. Jerry Pace, a burn-scarred botanist struggling for tenure at UCLA, thinks the friar was delusional. Jerry's best friend, the historian who just acquired Sylvestre's journal, disagrees.
Rika Teferi, a young woman who formerly led midnight raids in Eritrea's war for independence from Ethiopia, is working on her doctorate in the Cairo museum when catastrophe strikes. An accidental tea spill damages the royal papyrus she has been struggling to interpret, the papyrus purported to be Queen Tiye's last message to her son, Tutankhamun. But the spill also exposes hidden writing below the surface hieroglyphs.
Eric Foster had a dream - to become a master perfumer. While a student at the world's top perfume school, he creates an aphrodisiac fragrance of astonishing potency, the holy grail of the perfumer's art. His future seems assured. But when his creation is tied to an outbreak of passion-driven homicides, he becomes the NYPD's prime suspect, facing a charge of serial murder. Desperate to prove his innocence, Eric reluctantly teams up with Tanya Cole, a forensic chemist who seems born to exasperate him.
"Turns on totally unrealistic plot point"