While scuba diving in Tanzania, Sam and Remi Fargo discover a relic belonging to a long-lost Confederate ship named the Shenandoah. An anomaly about the relic sets them off chasing a mystery, and a rumored second artifact-but, unknown to them, a much more powerful force is engaged in the same chase. A fast-rising Mexican political party, whose members boast direct descent from Aztec royalty, is intent on finding that artifact as well, because it contains a secret that could destroy them utterly. Through Africa, England, the rain forests of New Guinea, the windswept Kuril Islands, the site of the legendary 1883 Krakatoa explosion, and the heart of the Mexican jungles, the Fargos and their ruthless opponents pursue the hunt-but only one can win. And the penalty for failure is death.