As the judge in a complicated case involving an oil-bunkering gang, Sir Carter Braxton finds himself totally under the security provided by a mysterious figure, Sidi el-Hassam, a wealthy Arab who commands a volunteer group that specializes in preventing crude oil theft. The isolation under which he now lives causes him to miss his best friend’s funeral in 1993 for reasons that must remain inexplicable to his friends, the Falconer family, who live in the Forest of Dean, where they grow restoration oak. Finding herself in London, the widow, Valerie Falconer, an American from Texas, slips into one of Carter’s trials as a spectator, after which she discovers the conditions under which her old friend has been living for over three years. However, a third element also mixes into the situation in that both Carter and the Sidi, separately, have volunteered to participate in the refining of the GSP satellite system now being tested by NASA. This tracking system allows Carter to move temporarily to Texas to draw one of his assassins out. Not only is this the story of a man under physical stress and emotional stress; it is also a record of his spiritual journey led by his friend and later wife, Valerie, as well as the spiritual journey of the Sidi, which has been generated by an apparition of Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt.