Alexandra Boyd has travelled to Bulgaria hoping to salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. But a luggage mix-up soon after she arrives finds her holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to return the precious item to its owners she finds ever more obstacles in her path, even as her determination grows greater - and the mystery behind the significance of the urn deepens. Soon she will realise that this object is tied to the very darkest moments in the nation's history, and that the stakes behind seeing it safely returned are higher than she could ever have imagined. Elizabeth Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.