In 1938, during the Spanish Civil War, Alicia lost her parents at the age of nine when the Nationalists savagely bombed Barcelona. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars from that brutal era. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, she is ready to move on. But at the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she agrees to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s minister of culture, Mauricio Valls.
With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’s office. During World War II, Valls was the director of the notorious prison in Barcelona’s Montjuïc Castle, where several writers—including Mataix—were imprisoned. As Alicia and Vargas come tantalizingly close to finding Valls, they uncover an eerie web of kidnappings and murders tied to the corrupt Franco regime.
As she navigates the dark labyrinths of Barcelona, where demons from her own past await her, she is aided by the Sempere family as well as the unforgettable Fermín, ultimately confronting the hideous missing pieces of the puzzle.