Cádiz, 1811: The Spanish port city has been surrounded by Napoleon’s army for a year. Their backs to the sea, its residents endure routine bombardments and live in constant fear of a French invasion. And now the bodies of random women have begun to turn up throughout the city—victims of a shadowy killer.
Police Comisario Rogelio Tizón has been assigned the case. Known for his razor-sharp investigation skills—as well as his brutal interrogation methods—Tizón has seen everything. Or so he thought. His inquiry into the murders reveals a surprising pattern: Each victim has been found where a French bomb exploded. Logic tells him to pass it off as coincidence; his instinct tells him otherwise, and he begins to view Cádiz as a living chessboard, with himself and the killer the main players.
In a city pushed to the brink, violence and desperation weave together the lives of a group of unlikely people: the Spanish taxidermist who doubles as a French spy; the young woman who uses her father’s mercantile business to run the enemy blockade; the rough-edged corsair who tries to resist her charms; and the brilliant academic furiously trying to perfect the French army’s artillery and bring Cádiz to its knees once and for all. And as Napoleon presses closer, Tizón must make his next move on the bomb-scarred chessboard before the killer claims another pawn.
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