A young medical student named Fettes is assisting his professor in procuring cadavers to be dissected by his fellow students. He knows many of the bodies that are sold to him were stolen from graves - but he needs his job and keeps his silence.
To remain silent, however, is to invite worse trouble. Late one night there is a knock at the door and another cadaver is delivered to Fettes - one he recognizes. It's Jane Galbraith, a woman Fettes had seen alive and well only a day before.
Suspecting Galbraith was a victim of foul play, Fettes confronts his colleague, who warns him to continue keeping silent. Once again Fettes obeys, finding himself drawn inexorably deeper and deeper into a sinister swamp of deceit, lies, and murder.