In Rome’s crowded Campo dei Fiori, a woman rushes up to two carabinieri lounging in their sunglasses and uniforms, insisting that her sixteen-year-old daughter has just been abducted. Detective Nic Costa sees the scene unfold and intervenes. Because Costa knows what the two officers don’t: that in the morgue at Rome’s police headquarters, a forensic pathologist is examining the strange, mummified corpse of another girl, whose disappearance and death bear haunting similarities….
For the first time in decades The Eternal City is paralysed by a blizzard. And a gruesome discovery is made in the Pantheon – one of Rome 's most ancient and revered architectural treasures. Covered by softly falling snow is the body of a young woman – her back horribly mutilated…But before Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni of the Questura can begin a formal investigation the US Embassy has brought in its own people, FBI Agents who want the case closed down as quickly and discreetly as possible. But Costa is determined to find out why the enquiry is so sensitive – and as the FBI grudgingly admits that this corpse is not the first, the mutilations of the woman's body point to Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man – and to a conspiracy so sinister and buried so deep, that only two people know its true, crazed meaning.