"Stories of children lost to the theriomorphs were like the ammonite fossils: everyone had their own."
Alessia Kinshin is an archaeological anthropologist at the University of New Persia, a city surrounded by salt pans and beset by theriomorphs. Half-human and half-monster, the theriomorphs prey upon the citizens and appear tied to the salt, but the exact nature of the link is not known.
Determined to learn the truth for her doctoral thesis, Alessia dares to dig at a pan still inhabited by the creatures. She makes a startling discovery: the body of a human boy, buried in the salt.
The find confirms many suspicions of the theriomorphs' nature. Layer by layer, however, it also reveals just as much about the inhabitants of New Persia.
And when the boy wakes up, Alessia must choose between conflicting values of the truth.