April 1950: The rusting hulk of a steam locomotive rises from the deep waters of a Montana lake. Inside is all that remains of three people who died forty-four years before. But it is neither the engine nor its grisly contents that interest the people watching nearby. It is what is about to come next. . . . 1906: For two years, the western states of America have been suffering an extraordinary crime spree: a string of bank robberies by a single man who then cold-bloodedly murders any and all witnesses and vanishes without a trace. Fed up by the depredations of “The Butcher Bandit,” the U.S. government brings in the best man it can find–a tall, lean, no-nonsense detective named Isaac Bell, who has caught thieves and killers from coast to coast. But he has never had a challenge like this one. From Arizona to Colorado to the streets of San Francisco during its calamitous earthquake and fire, he pursues the best criminal mind he has ever encountered, and the woman who seems to hold the key to the man’s identity. He repeatedly draws near, only to grasp at empty air, but at least he knows his pursuit is having an effect. Because his quarry is getting angry now, and has turned the chase back on him. And soon, it will take all of Bell’s skills not merely to prevail . . . but to survive.