A late-night call from a phone box in a quiet Connecticut town leads to the discovery of a dead Estonian history professor. Restless young reporter Paul Tomm is given the heads up - but he struggles to dig up any concrete facts for the man's obituary. And soon he suspects that Professor Jaan Puhapaev's death - and life - were far from usual. But he can't begin to imagine how right he is . . . As he discovers more about the increasingly mysterious professor's past, Paul is drawn deeper into a world of uncertainties. A library of rare alchemical works poses more questions than it answers. A low-life bar run by a sinister Albanian seems to be the front for far darker operations. Hannah - Jaan's alluring neighbour - is an enigmatic as she is seductive. Can fifteen arcane objects really be the key to the puzzle? And will they lead to the truth not only about a host of unexplained deaths, but also the secret of life itself? Somebody doesn't want Paul Tomm to find out . . .