One morning in December 1917, in a French village a few miles from the front, death strikes when an 8-year-old girl is found murdered. A few yards from the scene of the crime stands the castle where the Public Prosecutor Destinat has been living for years as a reclusive and secretive widower. The investigating magistrate Mierck, whom the prosecutor has always scorned and humiliated, starts a perverse game in which the fabrication of a criminal seems to matter more than the quest for the truth. But, in this age of widespread slaughter, who are the victims? And who are the killers?