The plague that has decimated fourteenth century Europe appears to have returned today to the high dry lands of the American Southwest. But Tony Hillerman's famous pair of detectives, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, discover an even deadlier killer.
An eagle poacher is caught red-handed, huddled over the bloody body of a police officer. It seems an easy case. But the same day a biologist working on the plague scare, disappears from the area. The defence lawyer, who happens to be Jim Chee's girlfriend, insists the accused is innocent and Joe Leaphorn's investigation uncovers dangerous information on the modern developments of the black death.