The Gods blessed Lieutenant Bak, head of the Medjay police, with a rare brilliance -- which is why he is the one to whom his commander turns in a time of need. The explorer Minnakht has vanished into the vast and merciless Egyptian desert -- or perhaps has strayed perilously close to Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut's well-guarded turquoise mines -- and before Bak sails north on a new assignment he is to seek out the missing man. But evil is traveling with him and his Medjays in the caravan they accompany eastward. Someone -- or something -- is responsible for the strange rash of deaths that is rapidly thinning the numbers of their fellow travelers. A straightforward search for a missing adventurer becomes a twisted knot of treachery and blood -- one that threatens to strangle the life from Bak and his men and leave them buried for all eternity beneath the blistering sands.