In the deadening fog of the desolate Point Reyes lighthouse, north of San Francisco, Jason Barstow, Berkeley PhD candidate, decides on a dissertation topic. It will lead him from the sparkle of Seville, Spain, to a candy striped beacon in Chincoteague, Virginia. Jason will relive the disastrous voyage of the Spanish treasure fleet of 1730. For Professor Manuel Bodega at the University of Seville, shipwrecks are an obsession. One has eluded him--the Alcazar--flagship of the 1730 flotilla, carrying millions in gold and silver for the debt ridden King of Spain. Jason, fluent in Spanish, arranges an internship. Working closely with the professor's beautiful assistant, Maresca, he unearths new clues to the fate of the Alcazar. Bodega bankrolls an expedition and sends Jason to join a salvage crew led by the tenacious treasure hunter, Red Farr. The venture is plagued by false leads, grueling days plying fruitless waters, and, finally, a horrific hurricane. Left stranded on Chincoteague Island by the self-serving Farr, Jason's quest for a conclusion to his thesis seems BEYOND REACH.