Michael Bannon, now forty-one years old, is a priest in the society of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, a missionary order which has sent him to Chile. His mother, Elizabeth, and his sister, Sarah, are devoted to Michael. He and his father, Stephen, however, see the world in a different light; Stephen, a realist; Michael, a romantic; and it has caused them to clash. After twelve years in Chile, Michael finds himself living under a dictatorship, and he runs afoul of the government in serving the poor of his parish. The effect his family has had on his life shapes the way he confronts the terror that surrounds him as well as his commitment to his vocation as a priest.