Her name is Tama. But that’s not her real name. She doesn’t have the right to utter her real name. And yet, every evening before she goes to sleep, she murmurs to herself it several times. So that she doesn’t forget it...
At the age of 9, Tama is living near Paris in a large and attractive house, but it doesn’t belong to her own family. She does the housework and cooking there and looks after the children. She is not entitled to a bedroom, and so the little girl sleeps in a cupboard next to the washing machine. Tama is not like the average child: she is a slave. The slave of the Charandon family, whose members continually bully her, beat her and put her down. It makes no difference that Tama is docile, intelligent and kind – she is nobody to them. She has no identity papers, no name, and no future.
By the age of 15, Tama has lived a thousand lives. She has learnt to read on her own and has left the big house for the apartment of Mejda, Mme Charandon’s awful cousin, after being repeatedly sexually abused by Monsieur Charandon. Her new nemesis now inflicts the worst imaginable sufferings on her. Fortunately Izri, Mejda’s enigmatic son, is protective and kind towards Tama and invites her to stay at his when he becomes aware of his mother’s true nature. This stirs unfamiliar feelings in Tama: love and joy, but above all hatred and an inexhaustible desire for vengeance.
Just a few kilometres away lives Gabriel. This tortured man has turned his back on civilisation and gone to ground in the mountains with his dog and his two horses. He only strays from his domain in order to kill and to wreak a mysterious vengeance. He methodically deprives his victims of their lives with a chilling stoicism. But when a young woman enters his life like a wounded animal, he doesn’t have the heart to finish her off and inexorably becomes attached to her. And when he comes to know of her past, her vengeance will become his vengeance.
After the success of De force, Karine Giebel returns with a captivating thriller that engages powerfully with the theme of modern slavery, serving up a timely reminder that even in our modern age, barbarity and abuse can still flourish in the most refined of social settings.