Treachery and romance meet on the vast sands of the Arabian Peninsula known as the Empty Quarter. But the emptiness fails to conceal the plans of Ansar al Sharia, the branch of al Qaeda in Yemen and Oman, to kill or maim major leaders of the world by using two different and subtle approaches. An old oasis area in the Rub' al Khali, or Empty Quarter, becomes the headquarters from which the plan will be carried out. Doug Dean comes to Dhofar University in Salalah, Oman, to pursue his PhD dissertation on the ancient frankincense trade across the Arabian Peninsula. As he makes arrangements to move, he is recruited by the CIA. Suspicious activity is believed to be afoot between Yemen and Oman, and the CIA asks Doug to keep his eyes open while in Salalah. Then Doug meets Lila, a bright and modern Omani girl enrolled in Dhofar University to study English and America, and issues become complicated and dangerous.