Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for the medical examiners in Montreal and North Carolina, departs from home turf to journey to Guatemala, where her skills will be tested to the limit. It was a summer morning in 1982 when soldiers entered the village of Chupan Ya and rounded up the women and children. Families and neighbors refer to their lost members as "the disappeared". The bodies are said to lie in a mass grave. Tempe brings all her skill to uncover the savagery of the past. But something savage is happening today. Four girls are missing from Guatemala City, including the daughter of a high-ranking government official. When a young archaeologist is brutally murdered, Tempe realizes that she may be the next victim in a web of intrigue that connects the historical and contemporary murders.