On January 6, 1515, a small village of Taino Indians very close to Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola––Haiti to the natives––is destroyed by fire. Moved by the tragedy, several Dominican friars travel to Spain to beg the kind to send someone to the island to discover the guilty parties and make sure justice is done.
The man in charge of the investigation is Fernando de Rojas, a solid, trustworthy man, author of the celebrated Celestina, and he accepts the job despite the enormous difficulties it will bring. Once there, Rojas will see firsthand the Indians’ situation: how their population has been decimated since the arrival of the Spanish, how they are used as slaves to mine gold. Indeed, one possible motive for the massacre is punishment for their rebellion.