In 515 bce, Scylax, explorer and storyteller, sets sail from Caspatyrus in King Darius’s empire. Eclipsing time, this antique glimpse shifts to an archaeological dig in Turkey in 1914, one that is abandoned when war breaks out.In the service of ‘king and country’, lives change immeasurably. Vivian Rose Spencer exchanges archaeology for nursing wounded soldiers in London hospitals. Qayyum Gul is a non-commissioned officer in a British Army regiment, the 40th Pathans. He loses an eye at Ypres and is invalided home to Peshawar, Caspatyrus’s modern incarnation.