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One Thursday morning a body is found on the beach of St Andrews. Suddenly archeology student Mike MacEwan's world of tea, pints, late mornings and the occasional essay comes to an abrupt halt. Consumed with guilt, grief, confusion and thoughts of what might have been, Mike haunts the local ruins, rebuilding them in his mind, trying to find the shape of what is no longer there, as he obsesses over the loss of someone he barely knew, unsure of his place in her life, or her death.
It's only the discovery of an ancient plague burial site near campus that drags Mike back into contact with those around him. But life has changed, both for himself and others, and the burial ground holds more than the bones of those long dead. Unsure what he will find, Mike peels back the layers of earth and its dark history, trying desperately to connect the victims of the past to the tumult of his present.