Sophie Duguet is losing her grip. Haunted by visions from her past of her loving husband, who committed suicide after a car accident. One morning she wakes to find Leo, the child in her care, strangled in his bed by Sophie's own shoelaces. She can remember nothing of the night before. Could she really have killed him? She flees in panic, but this only cements her guilt in the eyes of the law. Not long afterwards it happens again - she wakes with blood on her hands, with no memory of the murder committed.
For Commandant Verhoeven life is beautiful: he is happily married, expecting his first child with the lovely Irène. But his blissful existence is punctured by a murder of unprecedented savagery. Worse still, the press seem to have it in for him - his every move is headline news. When he discovers that the killer has killed before - that each murder is a homage to a classic crime novel - the fourth estate are quick to coin a nickname: The Novelist.
Anne Forestier finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she is trapped in the middle of a raid on a jewellers on the Champs-Élysées. Shot three times, she is lucky to survive - and morbidly unlucky to remember the face of her assailant. Followed home from her hospital bed, Anne is in grave danger. But one thing stands in her favour - a dangerously vengeful partner, carrying the scars of devastating loss, who will break all the rules to protect the woman he loves: Commandant Camille Verhoeven.
The Korticos are from a well-endowed pygmy tribe in West Africa; the Mandingas are descended from a tribe of tall Ghanaians. Both families have been brought to Cuba as slaves. Oscar Kortico and Jose Mandinga, inseparable friends, marry a pair of sisters, and in the tiny hamlet of Pig's Foot (Pata de Puerco), five generations of these families will live out their colorful lives through the tumultuous sweep of Cuban history.