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When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery - the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair - archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia. As they dig into the mystery of the red-haired girl, they are drawn into the two-year-old disappearance of a landowner's wife and young son. The story delves through the many layers of Ireland's turbulent past, tracing the still-visible footprints of fortified tower houses and ancient burial mounds, ever mindful of the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present.