Dora Ilieva, Sam and his best friend Ben Galloway head to Sofia, thinking they will only be there for a few days to sightsee and receive the inheritance.
Sam's parents fled Bulgaria during the Communist era, but they rarely talk about their days in their home country. The only two relatives still living in Bulgaria are cousins - a university professor Kiril Kirilov and his daughter Kossara. Kossara is a PhD candidate in Epigraphy. Her father is well known for his Thracian studies and expedition.
At his parents urging, he tries to find them only to discover Professor Kirilov is on a two-year sabbatical working in the Rhodopes Mountains at Perperikon and has found the Altar of Dionysus. Kossara is heading there and she urges Sam and Ben to join her. Her father thinks he is on the verge of a breakthrough Thracian discovery, which might include the tomb of Orpheus and his magical lyre.
Sam begins have frighteningly realistic dreams about the Thracian civilization and at a traditional village festival the dreams seem more realistic. Someone is also on the trail of Orpheus and seems to know the team's every move. Who else wants the lyre and what are their plans for it?
This was a bold adventure through stunning countryside into the history of a civilization few remember. I enjoyed the journey.