Note! This novel contains only a few speculative fiction elements.
When the clock strikes midnight on the feast day of La Befana, Venice is aglow as a cascade of glittering fireworks bursts above the city. Masked figures crowd the vaporettos, the trattorias are humming with grappa-soaked gossip, and the possibility for random passion heats the frosty winter air.
Across the Grand Canal, beneath the stunning white dome of one of Venice's grandest landmarks, Santa Maria della Salute, a body with two slugs in the back of the head has been pulled from the icy waters. The victim is a woman. To the dismay of the police, she is dressed in the sacred robes of a Catholic priest - a desecration known as the Abomination.
Working her first murder case, newly promoted Captain Kat Tapo of the Carabinieri embarks on a labyrinthine trail that soon proves as elusive and confusing as the city's twisting backstreets. Her investigation leads from a crumbling asylum on a deserted island to the impenetrable complex of American military bases ringing the medieval city - and deeper, into an eerie virtual Venice that is both alien and familiar.
The influential and highly secretive simulated world of Carnivia.com holds the city's secrets, dark knowledge that reaches into the highest levels of government and the church, involving its most influential figures. The site's founder is a notorious hacker and the scion of one of Venice's oldest families - a man already convicted of cybercrimes whose life is threatened by an anonymous group determined to silence him and destroy his virtual city.
Just when every lead seems to send a frustrated Kat in a new direction, the various trails go cold, evidence goes missing, and the case is officially shut down. What follows is the unraveling of a dark conspiracy whose roots go back seventy years, revelations that will test Kat's loyalties and remind the dedicated cop of a simple truth: that unless old crimes are punished, corrupt forces will continue to repeat their mortal sins...