While searching for the wreck of a Portuguese ship in the sandhills of New South Wales, archaeologist David Norfolk stumbles upon the body of a man murdered fifty years before.
In a shack nearby an old man lies dying. He too knows something of the ship, perhaps also its connection to the south of Timor chartered by French mapmakers in the sixteenth century.
But does the old man have the information David needs? Does he hold the vital clue to the identity of the buried corpse? Determined to know the truth, David uncovers a story of obsession, secrets and sexual passion from a lifetime before.