Israeli art restorer and occasional secret agent Gabriel Allon has a problem. A prominent Swiss banker has called him to Switzerland to restore his Raphael. The problem is that Allon finds the banker dead in front of his Raphael, and he's the prime suspect. After some diplomatic intervention, Allon is freed. However, the banker's daughter, wracked by guilt, tells him that her father's cache of French Impressionist paintings, acquired under dubious circumstances during the Second World War, has been stolen by the murderers. Once Allon knows about the banker's wartime misdeeds, he attracts the attention of a secret Swiss organization dedicated to suppressing knowledge of all such crimes, and he is pursued by a shadowy killer known only as "the Englishman."