A thriller primarily set in modern day Rome. Two American archaeologists die suddenly in an underground passageway in the Roman Forum leading to the buried rooms of Emperor Nero's Golden Palace. The Italian authorities conclude that the deaths were caused by a devastating and highly contagious virus. Tom Stewart, an NYU forensic archaeologist who was present when the deaths occurred, becomes entangled in the race to find the supply of the virus--a race involving many powerful players desperately seeking the deadly contagion. Stewart must find and destroy the virus before others harness its sinister power. The Vatican, foreign groups, the world's largest genetically modified seed manufacturer--all have their reasons, and none will stop until they succeed, no matter what the cost or risk to millions of people if the virus escapes and causes a pandemic -- Provided by publisher.