A combination of two stories. The first story deals with the search for an unknown tomb, one where some artifacts have started to appear on the black market. The second story follows Ramses Emerson as he is sent on another mission behind Turkish lines.
In this installment, newlyweds Ramses and Nefret Emerson spend their time living on their family's dahabeeyah on the Nile, while the rest of the group remains at the house near Giza, where their excavations continue. Between the antics of Ramses' former associates in the smuggling trade, the reappearance of the Master Criminal, and yet another unknown adversary with a rich find, little time is permitted for romance...but of course, the younger Emersons make the most of it.
As Ramses Emerson works undercover to gather intelligence for the British military, Nefret returns from studying medicine in Switzerland, and Percy Peabody returns to wreak revenge on the Emerson family for past events. The Emersons have acquired the firman for part of the Giza concession, but of course are distracted by the criminal element, and eventually by a startling revelation from the Master Criminal, Sethos himself.
Newly married David is the focus of slander which Ramses and Nefret try to dispell. Amelia's nephew Percy is up to no good. The Master Criminal, Americans and a girl throwing herself at Ramses - all in a typical summer for this unusual family
Since Emerson has managed to annoy M. Maspero to the point of distraction, he is initially not even allowed near the Valley of the Kings, where another of Emerson’s rivals and targets of invective, Theodore M. Davis, has the rights to the entire valley. Much to everyone’s surprise (and possibly with Nefret’s help), Emerson is granted permission by Davis to clean up three tombs thought to be already excavated in full, KV3, KV4 and KV5.
Once again somebody is after the Emersons—particularly, it seems, Amelia. But help is on the way, from surprising, or perhaps not so surprising, quarters.