Eastern-bloc Europe, 1956.Ferenc Kolyeszar, homicide detective, is finding his life increasingly frustrating.His career as a published author appears to be at a standstill, his job is acquiring a political dimension that is making him uncomfortable, and his wife is cheating on him with a colleague. Then the celebrated painter Antonin Kullmann is found dead, his arms and legs shattered, his body set on fire. It's an exceptionally brutal murder and, as an artist himself, Ferenc becomes obsessed with solving the case. Peeling away the layers of deception and duplicity that surround the case, Ferenc discovers a secret - a secret with devastating repercussions, particularly in this politically turbulent time. As his country moves from a tenuous democracy into a brutal totalitarian state, Ferenc learns what it means to betray others, and what it means to be betrayed.