It is A.D. 70, and Evardus, a wine merchant from Gaul, has encountered a dying rabbi on a road outside of Jerusalem. With his final breaths, the old man urgently tells Evardus that Jewish priests have spirited sacred objects and records away from Herod's Temple in the hope of keeping them out of the hands of Roman soldierswho are, at that very moment, attacking Jerusalem and destroying the Jews' most holy site. The merchant learns of a copper scroll hidden beneath the Holy of Holies and a map that leads to the holy objects. A thousand years later, while on a Crusade to Palestine, a descendant of the merchant finally uncovers those secrets below the temple. They include an astonishing parchment that threatens the very foundations of the Church and Christianity. The grand master of the Templars develops a scheme to advance the interests of his order, but the plan has devastating consequences. The parchment survives, however, and for nearly a millennium remains hidden in plain sight. With the dawning of the twenty-first century and pivotal world events, two American professors discover the document while researching a book. Like those before, they are tempted to use it for their own purposes. The course they pursue leads to unforeseen consequences that affect events in the Middle East and a crucial turning point for the Vatican.
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