It is the year 1917 and the Golden Age of discoveries in the Middle East.
Joachim Agardh, painter and archaeologist, makes an unexpected discovery at the Bazaar in Cairo, leading to more disoveries at the Tel es-Sakan located near Gaza behind the Turkish lines – and an uncertain future. As the fighting peaks at the second battle of Gaza, Joachim finds himself back where he started, the worse for wear. Only uniting his cause with a British archaeologist can Joachim re-ignite his passion for discovering the secrets of the past.
British Archaeologist Norris Ansley establishes camp at Hawara, Egypt, by the canal at the site of the ruined pyramid and mortuary complex of second dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhet III. Facing increasing hostility from the local population in the middle of a time of war, Ansley does what he can to continue the work into Eugenics first begun by Sir William Flinders Petrie. When returning to Cairo to attend to the affairs of the Geological Institute, he is surprised to be the focus of attention of a young runaway Swede with a bagful of trinkets uncovered from the excavation ground of the Tell es-Sakan, days before it was obliterated by the allied shelling opening the second Gaza offensive.
In the aftermath, recovering from shell shock and lucky to be alive, Joachim Agardh escapes the attentions of the British army, and managing to keep his discoveries despite the odds, finds respite from the war and the horrors of the Gaza offensive with Norris Ansley. Encamped alone on the edge of the fertile depression called the Fayoum, Norris Ansley welcomes the company of the young Swedes Joachim Agardh and his friend Karl Oskar Eklund. In the next months Ansley with Agard and Eklund probe deeper into the mysteries of the ground at Hawara, making the discovery of a lifetime that will change the fate of Europe.