In the wealthy town of Ostia, our hero Falco appears to be enjoying a relaxing holiday. But when his girlfriend, Helena, arrives carrying a batch of old copies of theDaily Gazette- with the intention of catching up on the latest scandal - Falco is forced to admit to Petronius his real reasons for being there...'Infamia', the pen name of the scribe who writes the gossip column for theDaily Gazette,has gone missing. His fellow scribes have employed Falco to find him and bring him back from his lazy, drunken truancy. However, Falco suspects that there is more to his absence than might first appear. Before long, Falco's enquiries lead him into the world of piracy and the discovery of criminal traditions long believed dead. Is this the right path towards finding 'Infamia'? Why would pirates have taken him? And if they have, will he be found alive?