Chronically irresponsible Duncan Flowers has a rude awakening when his junky, unlocked car falls prey to a thief, who also makes off with the beat-up viola that Duncan inherited from his eccentric drifter of a grandfather. Duncan wants nothing more than to put the unfortunate event behind him, but the sacred trust that binds him to his grandfather's instrument is not easily broken. The viola's true nature soon pulls Duncan into unimagined intrigue involving a powerful real estate magnate, a renowned British antiquities expert, a master instrument maker and an aspiring fast-buck artist. To unlock the secret of his grandfather's legacy and to overcome the lingering demons of his broken marriage, Duncan must be prepared to rise out of his rut and take on the forces aligned against him. And his biggest obstacle just might be himself.