In this winner of the Premio Nacional de Narrativa, Spain's most prestigious literary prize, Miguel Delibes takes us into the heart of sixteenth-century Spain. At the very moment Martin Luther nails his ninety-five theses to a church door and launches the movement that will divide the Roman Catholic Church, a child is born, his fate marked by the political and religious upheaval taking root in Europe. His mother having perished in childbirth, his father alienated and disconnected, Cipriano Salcedo's only source of affection is his wet nurse and foster mother, Minerva. He grows up to become a prosperous merchant and joins the Reformation movement, which is secretly advancing on the Iberian Peninsula, the historical bastion of the Catholic church. But before long, the Spanish Inquisition will drive the Reformers to put their lives at stake. Through the story of Cipriano Salcedo, Delibes paints a masterful portrait of the time of Spain's Charles V and recreates with uncanny accuracy and unparalleled artistry the social and intellectual atmosphere of Europe at one of history's most pivotal moments.