"Asia Minor, sixth century: After several centuries of conflict with the early Christian church, the Manichaeans, a heretical sect, vanish from the historical record.
"Bosnia, 1992: Ian Pearse, a young American relief worker destined for the priesthood, has his faith tested by the horrors of war, but is jolted from his despair by a passionate affair with a Croatian woman named Petra.
"Rome, present day: Father Pearse, now a researcher at the Vatican Library, comes into possession of an ancient scroll after the mysterious death of one Vatican priest and the disappearance of another. His scholar's curiosity aroused, he has the document translated by an old friend in Rome. He is stunned to learn that the scroll contains ingeniously coded letters and the text of the "Perfect Light," a Manichaean prayer that has never been found in its written form.
"In the early days of the Christian church the Manichaeans had been an overly zealous, highly organized secret society, scorned by the church and seemingly driven out of existence. But these newly discovered documents indicate an earth-shattering alternate history, a long-dormant, highly evolved conspiracy carefully nurtured for centuries, and an even more important scroll hinted at in the letters that will facilitate 'the great awakening.'"