Superintendent Brahim Llob is bored. Nothing seems to need his attention in an unusually peaceful Algiers. Then suddenly, peace is shattered in ways Llob could never have imagined. His subordinate, Lieutenant Lino, falls for an entirely unsuitable woman, and is devastated when she returns to a previous lover, the wealthy and influential Haj Thobane. Thobane survives an attempted murder that kills his chauffeur and Lino's gun is found at the scene. With Lino languishing in prison, it is up to Llob to face down the corrupt echelons of the Algerian government to find the truth about what happened the night of the murder. The search will take the world-weary Llob down avenues even he has never encountered and will force him to delve into his beloved country's brutal past.