After a mutiny thirteen passengers of the "Leviticus" were put overboard in a lifeboat without food or water. As by miracle the shipwrecked were saved; since then they hold a yearly reunion. For ten years each year one of them disappears ...
Just before the latest reunion Cromwell Stone receives a letter from one of the reunionists, offering him
to stay over at his place, so they can visit the reunion together.
The letter doesn't comfort Stone entirely, and as he wanders through the abandoned town late at night
he imagines that he is being spied upon (see our frontplate). His fear gets bigger and bigger and overcomes
him, in the end, in front of a house, as he collapses unconsciously.
Next morning it becomes clear that he has slept at the address where he was supposed to be; the house
is for rent, however, and an old neighbour cannot remember the person Stone is looking for ever having
lived there. Stone decides to rent the house, which starts a series of fateful events.