A man returns home to Cambodia whose people, unseen by the outside world and unknown to him, are dying in vast numbers in one of history's bloodiest revolutions. He is never seen again.
Back in France his disappearance in 1977 - during the near four-year period of catastrophe that survivors call "the time when the clouds fell from the sky" - marked the start of an unceasing search for answers by his wife Martine and their daughter Neary.
It seemed an impossible task: 30-year-old diplomat Ouk Ket had vanished into the wasteland of Pol Pot's Cambodia, a country whose population was enslaved and whose borders were closed.
Decades later, though, Martine's and Neary's quest for justice saw them testify at the war crimes trial of Comrade Duch, the chief of Pol Pot's notorious S-21 prison where thousands of "enemies of the revolution" were tortured prior to their execution.
In this groundbreaking book, spanning five decades and five lives, journalist Robert Carmichael takes the reader on a compelling journey into the causes and consequences of the Khmer Rouge's savage rule during which two million people died, one in every four Cambodians.
In describing one family's experience, his book illuminates the tragedy of a nation.