Ethan Sparks is psyched when he lands an assignment as a photojournalist with The Young Explorer Magazine. He's covering his dad's latest archaeological dig in China. While his dad excavates a Terra-Cotta Soldier, Ethan looks for ways to keep his article exciting. But excitement finds him instead. While on a tour of the Great Wall, a sniper attempts to assassinate his father. Ethan barely catches his breath before more trouble comes his way. He encounters a wacko with bloody tear ducts who has a sinister way of controlling people. Then there's an international conspiracy with double agents who switch teams so often that Ethan has to crack a code with his friend, Chen Jun, to solve the mystery. Before he knows it, he's up to his neck in danger and he almost gets buried as deep as the Terra-Cotta Soldiers. Not even his dad or the CIA can save him now.