San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way - a dangerous decision. Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger. When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice. Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.