Retired backpacking friends Sti and Rob are secretly asked to investigate the death of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employee, killed in the Los Angeles Aqueduct decades earlier. The death was ruled an accident, but the victim’s wife has recently discovered evidence that suggests her husband was murdered.
Sti and Rob are reluctant to engage the widow’s request, but the challenge appears innocent enough so they agree. They soon stumble into a conundrum of disappearances and deaths going back a half-century or more. They uncover bizarre circumstances involving clandestine plans to build a road across the Sierra Nevada, and there’s even mention of a plane crash and the lingering myth of a missing cache of gold.
The two find themselves pursuing leads that take them to the Sierra backcountry, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even to the home of an elderly New York benefactor with a curious influence in the affairs of the Eastern Sierra. In the end, though, everything leads back to the aqueduct and the enigmatic people caught up in a culture of murder.