A mysterious woven metal artifact is found at a paleontological dig in Africa. Mystified experts, confounded by the impossible timeline they receive from traditional dating methods, call upon a stubborn twenty-something with a unique talent. Matthew Turner's gift is also his curse: whenever he touches an object, his consciousness is flooded with the thoughts and feelings of those who touched it before him, be it last week or centuries ago. It's a talent that many covet, some fear, and almost no one understands.
Despite being exploited as a child and tormented by the unpleasant experiences imprinted on him from the various items he's "read," Matt agrees to travel from New York to the forests of Kenya. There, threatened by unknown enemies, and helped by a beautiful but prickly ally who begins to understand his strange ability, his mind journeys back in geological time to make a discovery so shocking that it forces us to rewrite all human history.