American art appraiser, Patrick Donovan, is sent to Venice to authenticate three classical paintings belonging to the famous Galleria dell'Accademia. Arriving during heavy rains, he finds the Galleria besieged by floods and closed to the public. With the floodwaters rapidly rising, he examines two Bellinis and confirms that they are indeed authentic but before he can get to Giorgione's The Tempest it is stolen. Police and media interest is high and Donovan unwittingly finds himself at the center of the investigation. What follows is a highly stylized and complex web of mystery, intrigue and betrayal which unfolds against the ghostly backdrop of the Venetian waterways. Donovan determines to uncover the truth behind the disappearing painting but soon finds himself at the mercy of a corrupt art collector, a petty thief and, ultimately, a deadly seductress.