Jerusalem in AD30 is a city torn with rivalries. A new sect called the Nazarenes has arisen, challenging the old order and causing ancient hatreds to resurface. Only the firm hand of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, keeps things in check. Amid this turbulent backdrop, the body of a man is found in a deserted field south of the city. His stomach has been torn open by what appears to be a sharp blade. There are no witnesses to the crime, and the only clue lies in a mysterious alabaster box.