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A MIT astrophysicist is called upon to continue the investigation of a lost civilization on the Arabian Peninsula after the unfortunate and untimely death of the expedition's lead archaeologist. Just why an astronomer is called upon a situation where he is evidently "a fish out of water" is not exactly clear, but his involvement is not accidental and his role becomes pivotal. The research revolves around the location of a cluster of lost cities in the southern Arabian Peninsula that are believed to have been settled over 3000 years ago by a group of people migrating from the Mediterranean with ties to Ancient Greece. This group appears to have been guided to the site by an enigmatic figure who continues to crop up throughout the history of the settlement even though the recorded evidence suggests that the settlement was active for over 800 years. Some time in its ninth century of existence, the civilization and its intriguing father-figure vanished abruptly somewhere about the time of the well known chronicled collapse of a great earthen dam. As sites are revealed and artifacts are recovered, the astronomer is drawn into a complex scenario where his very actions will trigger the story's climatic events and reveal the identity of the settlement's mentor.