Working on an archeological dig while on sabbatical in France, Julia Kerrigan discovered several Neolithic skulls with drilled holes indicating a form of surgery. Julia’s discovery was quickly followed by the death of both her supervisor and mentor. With little to go on, Julia takes off for Cambodia in an attempt to learn more about the mysterious skulls. In a parallel storyline, photographer Jake Thurby takes an assignment accompanying Chemda Tek, a beautiful Cambodian lawyer interested in learning what happened to her family during the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Chemda is certain the mysteries of the Plain of Jars hold the key to her past. As Jake and Chemda become entangled with local authorities after the murder of a fellow researcher, it soon becomes clear there are secrets on the Plain of Jars that could get them killed.
The situation is not made any safer by Julia’s arrival, especially when there is a gorgeous, incredibly strong woman hungry for vengeance on their trail. Fortunately, what remains of Chemda’s family is very highly placed and proves invaluable in getting them out of nasty situations but that only goes so far and hate is a powerful motivator.
While the story was interesting and inventive enough to grab attention at the beginning, the repetitious references to the horrors of Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge quickly became old. Eventually the tale lapsed into a condemnation of atheism as Knox made his point that all that is good and kind in the world comes from faith and evils past and present are due to not believing in God. This heavy-handed treatment seriously detracted from what could have been an excellent anthropological thriller and left little room for better character building.