The North-West Frontier, 1910. The screams of a wounded British officer abandoned at the bottom of a dark ravine are heard by a young Scottish subaltern. Ignoring the command to retreat back to base the Highlander sets out alone, with dagger in hand, to rescue his fellow officer from the Pathan tribesmen who are slowly torturing him to death.
Over a dozen years later the backwash of this tragedy threatens to engulf Joe Sandilands. On secondment from Scotland Yard, Joe is spending a fortnight with his old army friend, James Lindsay, commander of the front line fort at Gor Khatri. An uneasy peace is in operation with the Afghans but into this already-delicate situation is injected an ill-assorted group of visitors to the fort. After a skirmish which results in the death of a Pathan prince and the taking of hostages, Joe and his companion James are given seven days in which to identify, arrest and execute the killer before the frontier erupts into war.
Drawing on all his courage and detective skills Joe must find out who the murderer is before more bloody deaths occur, the legacy of a bitter feud with its roots hidden deep in the past.