February 1942: The Struma, a broken-down steamer, explodes and sinks in the Black Sea, drowning 768 Rumanian Jews fleeing the Nazis and heading for Palestine, and safety.
June 1944: 31 SAS soldiers are captured behind enemy lines and are forced to dig their own graves before being shot and buried in a forest in the heart of France.
Seventy years later: A young woman is attacked in the grounds of Edinburgh Zoo - the attacker seeking the document that might link these two wartime events.
Private Investigator Sam Dyke rescues the woman, Chantal Bressette, and embarks on a quest to find out why the document she carries is being sought by a high-ranking Government official and his team of ex-Army thugs. They follow a series of clues that lead them eventually to an isolated village in central France, tracked by the thugs and government minister Gideon Blake, who becomes obsessed with uncovering what the document reveals because he believes it implicates his family in an obscene war crime.