Miranda Lovelady, Dr Bill Brockton's protégé, is spending the summer helping excavate a newly discovered chamber beneath the spectacular Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. There she discovers a stone chest inscribed with a stunning claim: inside lie the bones of none other than Jesus of Nazareth. Faced with the case of the millennium, Miranda summons Brockton for help proving or refuting the claim. Both scientists are sceptical - after all, fake relics abounded during the Middle Ages - but the evidence for authenticity soon grows. Brockton and Miranda link the bones to the haunting image on the Shroud of Turin, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Christ and a laboratory test finds that the bones are 2,000 years old. The finding triggers a deadly tug of war between the anthropologists, the Vatican and a deadly zealot who hopes to use the bones to bring about the Second Coming . . . and trigger the end of time.