The year is 1494. Nadira is a Moorish slave whose late mother taught her to read and write in the hopes of bettering her lot. She lives in Barcelona and keeps the books for her master, Sofir, a recent convert from Judaism to Catholicism. Due to the peculiarities of Nadira’s background, she can read and write in a number of languages. Her humdrum existence comes to an abrupt end when an English gentleman, Lord Montrose, takes her away from Sofir and on a dangerous journey.