Young archaeologist Jack Hunter planned only to take a picture of a cuneiform tablet from once unsurpassed Mesopotmian metropolis Ugarit in present Syria,but is caught and has to steal it from a private museum in France. He refuses to join his mentor,professor Frederic 'Freddie' Shaffer,who believes the poem is a coded treasure map,on a relic hunt,until his friend is murdered to steal it. Obvious suspect is Syrian artifact trader Ali,so Jack flies to Damascas. There he must accept working with local,US-educated colleague Nadia and her driver Tariq. Their lives are threatened during the long relic quest,for one by common nemesis Albert Littman,but another secret lurks too.