John Segovia is many things - American, corpulent, shambolic, and obsessed with the history of South America. This is what drew him to the city of Piura in the coastal desert of Peru, where every grain of sand teems with stories of Incas and Conquistadors. Here, where past and present intermesh, he thought he'd finally found a life for himself. He met Pilar and he married her; they had a baby girl. But John is now a widower, and a killer - a taxi driver - remains at large. A foreigner in a riotous, mythic city, John must somehow learn to be a father to his infant daughter, to cope with the visceral trauma of loss, and suppress a voracious desire for impossible revenge.