The year 2015 is still in its early days when a terrorist attack devastates Paris, transforming the soul of the city overnight. In the middle of it all, a young Austrian man is trying to find a past love. Ten years have passed since he and Samira went their separate ways, but wherever he goes, he finds himself confronted by memories of their time together. On the surface he is looking for another woman – Marianne, the daughter of an Austrian mother and a Moroccan father, who hails from the same small town in the Alps as him and has been missing for almost fourteen years. A newspaper report sends shockwaves through his body: he notices that her face bears a striking resemblance to Samira’s. The lost children at the heart of Christoph W. Bauer’s novel are all different: they have been driven out of the normal order of things, they are tied to a strange past or have been left behind to carve out a future that is worth living. The crowd of absentees gathers against the backdrop of the real main protagonist: a Paris caught between the sheen of the city centre and the gloom of its margins, marked by the threat of terror in everyday life.