Li Yan and Margaret Campbell, Chinese policeman and Chicago pathologist heroes of THE FIREMAKER, meet again when Margaret's unique skills are required once more to investigate a series of ritual executions in Beijing. The first victims are drugged, tied, labelled with a single word and a single number - then expertly beheaded. But the fourth victim was an American diplomat. Compelled to work with one another, Margaret Campbell and Li Yan again feel the overwhelming attraction that nearly destroyed them both when they first met. But now Margaret has another admirer - a brilliant, charismatic American TV archaeologist. And Li has a family tragedy that demands all his heart. Slowly they tease out the killer's secrets. But the closer they come to the truth behind the executions, the more dangerously close they come to a killer who is prepared to sacrifice anyone to conceal it.