Lina O’Reilly feels the need to escape from the stifling environment of her strict Catholic upbringing. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s call to service, she volunteers for the Peace Corps, and is sent to a small Latin American country with a history of violence and class warfare. The other volunteers in her group run the gamut from religious fanaticism to promiscuity, from 1960s idealism to calculating self-interest. Lina is soon caught up in a spiral of politics, corruption, sensuality and exotic religion. Then, finding herself at the center of a bloody uprising she does not understand, Lina struggles to survive in a world that is fast disintegrating.