Kate Fansler's husband, Reed, has been kidnapped--and will be killed unless Kate obeys the carefully delineated directives of a ransom note. Tormented by her own puzzled heart, Kate seeks solace and wise counsel from both old friends and new. But who precisely is the enemy? Is he or she a vengeful colleague? A hostile student? A terrorist sect? The questions mount as Kate searches for Reed--accompanied by her trusty new companion, a Saint Bernard puppy named Bancroft. Hovering near Kate and Bancroft are rampant cruelties and calculated menace. The moment is ripe for murder. . . .