It is December 2, 1943, and Piero Allegra is on the dock unloading guns for the Italian Resistenza when the Luftwaffe bombs Bari Harbor, a strategic port on the Italian Adriatic coast. He is taken to the ancient Basilica di San Nicola, where the priests are attending the injured and dying. While his childhood sweetheart Maria tries to understand what is killing victims all around them, Piero’s brother Alessandro discovers an ancient secret that could save his life.
Six decades later, brilliant, outspoken Amelia Allegra has learned to live with the trauma of a childhood accident, but the life she has created is suddenly undermined when her beloved grandfather, the famed artist Alexander Allegra, is attacked by intruders. With his dying breath he begs her to “return the saint.” Amy’s quest to fulfill his wish takes her from their idyllic town on the Hudson River to Bari’s Old City, as she unravels the mystery of her grandfather’s past and the secret that haunted him through his life.
One of the worst catastrophes of WWII, the raid on Bari destroyed 17 ships and their valuable cargo, severely damaged several others and devastated the city. The resulting explosions could be felt more than 20 miles away and killed thousands of civilians and military personnel, yet the attack was shrouded in secrecy, because of the deadly payload aboard one of the ships.