Behind prison bars, Jose Martinez watches his fellow Republican comrades forced into a bullring and machine-gunned to death in the first days of the Spanish civil war. He wonders why his life was spared -- or are the victorious soldiers of the Nationalist Army preparing a fate even worse for him? Decades in the making, the political and religious clash between progressive and conservative Spaniards has turned deadly. Like all civil wars, this one tears apart Jose's family as well as the nation. Into the maelstrom comes sibling jealousy, disputes over beliefs, aggrieved betrayal, and simple lust -- all threatening the togetherness of a family. Added to this turmoil is the dying, innocent request of Jose's mother for him to make a spiritual pilgrimage for her to Santiago de Compostela -- but at what cost? While this story is a work of fiction, it reflects real events that happen to real people. The novel is intended for an American audience who share with the Spanish the memory of a civil war in their historical background. The cultural conflicts that gripped Spain three-quarters of a century ago find similar echoes in the present day political environment of the United States.