On a quiet day, away from the hustle of Richmond, in a small cottage on the Virginia coast, Dr. Kay Scarpetta receives a disturbing phone call from the Chesapeake police. Thirty feet deep in the murky waters of Virginia's Elizabeth River, a scuba diver's body is discovered near the Inactive Naval Shipyard.As the police begin searching for clues, the wallet of investigative reporter Ted Eddings is found. Unnerved by the possible identity of the victim, Scarpetta orders the crime scene roped off and left alone until she arrives. What was he doing there, searching for Civil War relics as the officer suggested, or was there a bigger story? As she rifles through the multitude of clues, a second murder hits much closer to home. This new development puts Scarpetta and her colleagues hot on the trail of a military conspiracy.