Where is Paradise? How can a man get there? A life of virtue might suffice, but who wants to wait for death to claim life's rewards? Thomas Deerham, wandering war-torn Europe, has no thought of going anywhere but home. But when he falls in with a friar and a pilgrim, his plans change. The three men, none of them quite what they seem, set off on a quest that takes them beyond the known world to places only dreamt of by ancient cosmographers. In this sequel to False Ambassador, Thomas Deerham seizes his chance to escape papal service when Pius II dies at Ancona. Stealing a copy of Plato's Timaeus, and a beautiful mappamundi drawn up by the great scholar Toscanelli, he heads for England and home. Robbed in Paris, he is helped by vagabond-poet François Villon. Bitter after his exile and disgrace, François follows Thomas to England. But the Hundred Years' War is giving way the Wars of the Roses, and England is no place for friendless wanderers. By the middle of a bitter winter, after a series if failed scams, the pair face starvation. They are rescued by Christian Rosenkreutz, who has followed Thomas to get the mappamundi, which he thinks will guide him to Paradise. When François steals a bizarrely illustrated book, (now known as the Voynich Manuscript) written in a language no one can understand, new possibilities are suggested. Rosenkreutz proposes a voyage to search for the lost wisdom of Atlantis, and the three set off on travels that rival those of Mandeville and Marco Polo.