Renowned bone detective Bill Brockton and his intrepid assistant, Miranda, are about to get immersed in murder and intrigue in Avignon, France, home of the popes for most of the fourteenth century. But first, in this artful prequel to The Inquisitor's Key, other mischief is afoot in the ancient walled city. Inspector René Descartes of the French National Police is roused from a deep sleep to investigate a break-in at the Petit Palais, Avignon's museum of medieval masterpieces. Descartes's discovery plunges him into an elaborate, art-lined labyrinth: a labyrinth that leads him to a master forger's studio . . . and to a charred corpse. Just as he's finally closing the case, Descartes gets called to an even more bizarre death scene, where his path—and his fate—will collide with those of Brockton and Miranda.