When British academic Malise Gabriel falls to his death from a Rome apartment, detective Nic Costa rapidly comes to realize that there is much more to the accident than he had first thought. It also becomes apparent that Malise's family - mysterious and tragic daughter Mina, stoic wife Cecilia and troubled son Robert - may be keeping vital information hidden. Nic becomes obsessed with the case, and is especially intrigued by Mina's story which seems to be linked with the sixteenth century-legend of a young Italian noblewoman, Beatrice Cenci. As the investigation deepens, Rome's dark and seedy side is uncovered, revealing a web of deceit, treachery and corruption. Costa realizes that the key to the truth lies with the Gabriels. Why are they so unwilling to co-operate, and who, or what, is the reason for their silence?