In the early 1970s a reclusive artist and philosopher disappears in Paris after completing a fantastic series of canvases that trace the rise and fall of empires. Eventually his bloated body is dragged from the Seine. The knowledge and insight die with him. Years later, Claude Chiragi, a graduate student in Montreal receives a mysterious painting and senses the relevance of the theory embedded in the artwork. His curiosity is instantly aroused, and he launches a global search for clues that will help him understand the message and unravel the mystery of the artist’s fate. Embedded in the paintings are tell-tale historical clues, mysteriously coded, that predict imperial entropy in the future—from economic collapse and cultural decadence to a coup d’etat against civil society. Kidnappings, killings, undercover conspiracy and a trek into ancestral roots, lend to this novel its quality of intellectual mystery and gripping suspense.