Archaeologist Lisa Donahue travels to Israel to arrange a loan of artifacts for her Philadelphia museum. Even before she finds a scrap of ancient manuscript in a ceramic jar, she is the subject of intense interest from strangers. A Lebanese computer salesman follows her to her Jerusalem hotel where someone has delivered a mysterious message for her. Then she runs into an old boyfriend who hints at an extraordinary archaeological find being sold in pieces on the black market. Instead of spending her visit in a dusty storeroom documenting old pottery, Lisa finds herself hanging off a cliff and exploring caves near the Dead Sea, racing to find a lost codex before Christian fanatics destroy it.