This is Deaver's third appearance in this column, second one this year.
Each story in the book is inspired by a work of art, which appears in front of it. In this case it the Cave Paintings of Lascaux, some of the oldest art work in the world.
Sometimes the difference between a good story and a great one is the structure. I can't imagine this tale working nearly as well without the simple device Deaver uses to introduce it.
It begins with Roger and Della having a crisis of conscience. They are a married couple, both moderately successful mid-career archaeologists, and they are in France for a conference.
Why the crisis? Well, let's put it this way. Suppose Professor A gets a clue to a career-changing discovery but doesn't realize how to use it. If he tells Professors B and C about it and they are more clever at interpreting the puzzle, are B and C required to share the credit with A?
An ethical dilemma indeed. And Roger and Della are about to face more dilemmas, but I can't tell you about that without giving away the store. Or the cave. Some lovely twists in this one.