It all begins innocently enough. As a result of losing both his job and his girlfriend, Michael Hendrick has a simple urge to escape New York. He books a flight to Quito, Ecuador, where Adam Winthrop, a business school friend, works in the American Embassy.
Shortly after Michael's arrival, Adam introduces him to Carolina Mayer, the daughter of the leading candidate for the presidency of Ecuador. Michael can't believe his good fortune, and the two quickly became enamored with one another. Meanwhile, wandering about the city, Michael meets a local bar owner who asks him to find someone to translate a diary-written in German script-that purportedly contains the secret to the location of Atahualpa's gold. Adam warns Michael not to get involved in this treasure hunt, especially since the last person to possess the diary has been murdered.
When Michael agrees to look for a translator, he inadvertently sets in motion an alarming series of events that not only places his life in danger, but causes incalculable harm to Carolina and her family.