Archaeologist David Norfolk is searching for a 400-year-old Portuguese shipwreck off the coast of New South Wales. Such a find would rewrite the history of Australia. But instead he unearths the body of a man murdered fifty years earlier, and begins to unravel a more personal kind of history. An elderly recluse, dying in a nearby shack, seems to know something of the corpse s identity and also its connection to the shipwreck. He begins telling David about his own past, a story of a life marred by passion, rivalry and betrayal. But what does he know about the ship and the murder - and will he tell David before it is too late?