"Such was the battle that raged between Cousin K and me: good done badly; evil done well." And such is the twisted logic of good and bad, right and wrong, knitted into this novella by one of the most powerful voices to emerge from North Africa in our time. With his father brutally killed as a traitor during a national liberation war and his older brother an army officer far away, the young narrator lives reclusively with his mother, who scorns him. He turns to his young cousin for affection, only to be mocked and humiliated so deeply that his love becomes hopelessly entangled with hatred. Fate places a young woman in the narrator's path when he rescues her from a violent attack, and the reawakening of his confused passions proceeds toward terrible vengeance. In this nameless narrator's tormented reflections, played out against the backdrop of an indifferent world, Yasmina Khadra plumbs the mysteries of the crippled heart's desires.