In 1453 the collapse of Byzantine Orthodox Christianity's most sacred City, Constantinople, radiated shocks through the entirety of the Christian world. Symbolically, the Islamic Ottoman Turks had made Santa Sophia, the most famous Christian church in the world, into a mosque. Any doubts that there was a now an Ottoman Empire poised to conquer the Christian West were dispelled. But the history around the collapse itself was surrounded with loose ends and oddities.
"Slow start but builds to an amazing journey"
Toward the middle of the twelfth century King Roger II, the Norman occupier of southern Italy and Sicily, desired to have an accurate map of the world. The scholars most known in the field of geography were Moslems, some of whom were famed for the personal travels they undertook. One of these men, Mohammed al-Idrisi, was sought out by Roger for his extraordinary knowledge of the known world.
Ostensibly, Francis McNulty was born on third base - wealth and brains in abundance. But startlingly, in 1984 he channels the renowned medieval Saint Francis of Assisi by renouncing the material world in favor of a life of extreme poverty and religious devotion. Mysteriously, he disappears in 1987 and is never heard from again, presumed dead by almost everyone. Now his repentant and mega-rich brother, dying from ALS, pleads with McAbee to come at the matter with fresh eyes.
Former classics professor, Bertrand McAbee - an ambivalent PI, is asked to investigate a fatal car crash in Ohio. The victim was a former professorial colleague of his. McAbee's involvement in this apparently simple investigation will find him ensconced in an extraordinary set of events that began just prior to World War I. A toy - the pony circus wagon - is embedded with a fortune in jewels along with a story and provenance of incredible dimensions.