On the ocean liner Mauretania, two European scientists with a groundbreaking new invention are rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency's intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell. Unfortunately, they are not so lucky when the thugs attack a second time—and one of the scientists dies. What are the scientists holding that is so precious? Only something that will revolutionize business and world culture—and perhaps something more. For war clouds are looming, and a ruthless espionage agent has spotted a priceless opportunity to give the German Empire an edge. It is up to Isaac Bell to figure out who he is, what he is up to, and stop him, but Bell may already be too late.