At the vulnerable age of 15, Blanche Nero watches the electrocution of her Italian immigrant father for an inexplicable brutal murder he has committed. She resolves to do something with her life that values humanity over justice, mercy over sacrifice. But she is drawn to the bigger human mysteries of violence and death.After a grueling but successful career at some of the nation's finest university hospitals, Blanche is almost 60. Her work as a trauma surgeon at Charity Hospital in New Orleans has been abruptly ended by Hurricane Katrina. She takes a year sabbatical from the medical school and leases a small flat in Venice, seeking an understanding of her father in the place where he lived his formative years.On a cold morning in Piazza San Marco, Blanche meets Count Lorenzo Ludovici (Ludo) an aging, elegant, and charming Venetian. Blanche is drawn to him and is uncharacteristically self-revealing as he introduces her to his beautiful city.Through a series of painful and revealing conversations, Blanche and Ludo discover that each of them has private knowledge of interlocking pieces of their history. Blanche feels sadness of a depth that she has not felt before, but also a strange sense of freedom. Perhaps, at last, she is ready to begin her life.