Tripoli, 1960s: During the years in which post-colonial Libya fell prey to the sprawling greed of the West, Michele Balistreri suffered a succession of blows that would scar him for life. The death of his mother; the unspeakable horror that befell his best friend's family; his father's role in Gaddafi's ascent to power; and the innocent blood pact that would corrupt the course of his future.
Rome, 1982: In the wake of a ruinous blunder, a ground-down Commissario Balistreri escapes his regrets through sex, alcohol, and gambling. His sole responsibilities are now a stilted investigation into the death of a South American student, and a tiresome obligation - as a gratitude to the man who saved his career - to a rising television starlet needing protection from the pitfalls of fame.
As the risks to this girl, Claudia Teodori, begin to rise along with her reputation, the sorrows of Balistreri's past also start to push back into his present. Both of their fates are inextricably linked - and this driven, obsessive young woman must help this damaged detective fight a foe that follows her and refuses to forget him.
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