"Death by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head" is the on-scene assessment, but the victim's relatives are adamant in their rejection of suicide as an explanation. Discovered in a closet, a full week after death, the body is barely recognisable. Extreme heat has accelerated decomposition, and Dr Temperance Brennan's forensic expertise is required. Advanced putrefaction has made it virtually impossible to determine the trajectory of the bullet. But just as Tempe is attempting to make sense of the fracture patterning, an unknown man slips her a photograph of a skeleton, telling her it holds the answer to the victim's death...Detective Andrew Ryan is also on the case and, as his relationship with Tempe heats up, together they follow the trail of clues all the way to Israel. In the Holy Land, with the help of Jacob Drum, a biblical archaeologist and old friend, Tempe becomes involved in an international mystery as old as Jesus, a mystery that could rewrite 2000 years of religious history. Could one of the tombs really be Christ's last resting place? And are the bones in the ancient ossuary the last remnants of James, the brother of Jesus, as its inscription claims? But the further Tempe probes into the identity of the ancient skeleton, the more she seems to be putting herself in danger.