"In 1996, a rare book expert is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of a mysterious, beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain and recently saved from destruction during the shelling of Sarajevo's libraries. When Hanna Heath, a caustic Aussie loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the book's ancient binding - an insect-wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - she begins to unlock the mysteries of the book's eventful past and to uncover the dramatic stories of those who created it and those who risked everything to protect it." "In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siecle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city's rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in 1609, a Catholic priest saves the book from the Inquisition's fires. In Taragona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of forced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the manuscript's extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna's investigations unexpectedly plunge her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultranationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and in the man she has come to love."--BOOK JACKET.