Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins has had an easy summer in Fort St. Antoine, Wisconsin, the only problem is that her daughter Meg is leaving for college soon. When Claire walks down to the park to watch the Burning Boat, a large replica of a Norwegian longboat set on the shores of Lake Pepin, burned at the autumnal equinox she has no idea that more than just a wooden structure is going up in flames. The next day, the bones of a young woman are found in the ashes. When Claire learns that the new deputy she has hired, a veteran returning from Afghanistan, was the young woman's former boyfriend, and that he is now dating her daughter Meg, she is desperate to find out who is responsible for the death. In order to get to the heart of this mystery, Claire must understand what happened in an attack in the mountains of Afghanistan, which left one man wounded, one man killed, and one man disturbed. Could one of those two remaining men be the killer?