Maitland Sutterfield is a San Francisco journalist who has just been through an exhausting divorce. He takes a writer's holiday, accepting an assignment as a reporter in Guatemala. In full flight from his personal demons, Sutterfield seeks peace in a beautiful land unlike his own - but this is Guatemala of the 1980s, and there is a brutal civil war underway. Instead of peace, Sutterfield finds the perils of love in a time of revolution, not to mention the moral quandaries of a country that is descending into madness. Maitland's main contact in Guatemala is Sofia Mendez, who takes him to a small Catholic mission in the highlands run by a Spanish-trained Jesuit priest. Maitland volunteers at the mission, convinced that the priest's ministry is a vivid example of the Liberation Theology movement about which he hopes to write the definitive book-length analysis. But complications abound when Sofia becomes Maitland's lover, before either he or Sofia have a chance to discuss the real nature of her previous vocation. Maitland is oppressively aware of the subtle but inevitable exploitation of third-world sources by first-world media, but the tables are turned as he finds himself trapped in a dangerous dilemma in which Sofia's needs dictate both their futures.