It is winter in Amsterdam. At the Rijksmuseum's research library, Ruth Braams is tracing the provenance of artworks looted by the Nazis when an old woman barges in and demands the return of a picture painted by her own eighteenth-century ancestor. She is told to go through the proper channels and hustled out. But Ruth's curiosity is stung. The painting, she discovers, has an eerie wartime history - and the elderly Lydia is not the only claimant....Ruth plunges into a world of grasping ambition, blighted love and sexual opportunism, where art and occult science join forces to take a staggering leap into the future.