The Inquisition and its autos-da-fÃ‰ haunt every waking moment--as well as most sleeping moments--in the life of a gutless journalist-turned-librarian. From the author of DeWitt's War, America Made Me, and The Kleber Flight. John Balthasar, descendant of Dutch dissidents, abandoned by his mistress in mid-vacation, returns to the scene of an old moral crime in Spain. Ten years before, in the last days of the fascist government, Balthasar was asked to drive a man across the border to France. He had been assured that there would be no problem there; but when they reached the moment of truth, it became obvious that his passenger was at odds with the law. Balthazar panicked--and refused to risk smuggling the man through in his trunk. Now he is haunted by that act of cowardice and wants to know what happened to the man. His travels through the Spanish interior take him through ominous little towns where he spends the night and dreams horrifying dreams about the Inquisition, specifically about the inquisitorial immolations that were the ultimate test of faith for the unlucky. Returning to Manhattan, Balthazar resumes his not-too-onerous library job, picks up with his mistress (who has sent her husband packing), and tracks down the fellow whom he abandoned at the border--only to find that the man is no longer the leftist hero of his imagination: he has become a repulsive rightist. Balthazar becomes enmeshed in expatriate Latin affairs and continues to worry about the Inquisition. This is one for the political coffeehouses. Terribly serious.