Adrian Ormache is a prosperous lawyer living in Lima. He has the perfect life: a great career, beautiful wife, two doting and intelligent daughters. But when his mother dies a series of events devastate his entire view of the past, his parents, and his country.
Adrian's mother leaves a letter indicating that she was being blackmailed. Confused, Adrian talks to his brother, who tells him that their long dead father Colonel Ormache, who led military operations against the 'Shining Path' guerrillas during the terrible Peruvian Civil War of the 1980's, was not quite the hero Adrian had always considered him to be: he routinely had POWs and civilian women raped, tortured and executed. His mother's blackmailer is revealed to be one of the Colonel's former subordinates. When Adrian confronts him the man gives him the name of the one prisoner whom the Colonel spared and kept as a lover - Miriam.
Adrian becomes obsessed with finding Miriam. His search is cathartic and all-consuming, a journey that takes him into a country that is a far-cry from the stable, civilised Lima he's used to, a people still haunted by a harrowing, ongoing war, and some truths about his family - and himself - that he could never have imagined.
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Born in Lima, Peru, in 1954, Alonso Cueto spent his childhood in Paris and Washington, returning to Lima at the age of seven. He studied literature at the Universidad Católica del Perú and later at the University of Texas, Austin. In 1985 he married Kristin Keenan Atwood, with whom he has two children. He lives in Lima.