Two down on their luck black-marketeers, Dagr and Kinza, have inherited a very important prisoner: the former star torturer of the Ba’athist regime, Captain Hamid, who promises them untold riches if they convey him to Mosul. The American private Hoffman, their good friend and partner in crime, undertakes to help them escape the authorities. Getting out of Baghdad is not so easy, however. The city is alive with 5000 years of history, and soon they are embroiled in the search for a serial killer, and the mysteries of an ancient watch which doesn’t tell time. Hounded by religious fanatics, librarians, alchemists and special elements of the former Iraqi secret service, they must survive long enough to understand that what everyone is looking for is, quite simply, the secret to eternal life: which was apparently discovered quite long ago, and had been, er, misplaced.