Hanno Stiffeniis, the magistrate from the gripping thrillers Critique of Criminal Reason and Days of Atonement, is called to Prussia's Baltic coast, where the naked, mutilated body of a young woman has been found by the shore. This is an area rich in amber, harvested - mainly by women - to be transformed into priceless jewellery. The occupying French army has taken over this lucrative trade to finance the battle against the Russian invasion, but as more women are killed, they suspect the Prussian resistance movement. Hanno's fears meanwhile point towards a psychotic serial killer, and no woman here is safe . . .