In 1946 ominous clouds are gathering on the narrow horizon of Lupoaia (Valley of the Wolves), a little village in Transylvania, where traditions, steeped in prejudice and superstition, have endured over many generations. The Second World War is over but the lives of the villagers are thrown into turmoil with the imposition of drastic, senseless changes by a new regime, intent on creating a new man for a new society.
The newly–installed totalitarian government threatens to eliminate the Flonta family by declaring Teodor’s father, Pavel, a chiabur – an ‘enemy of the people’. Pavel is arrested, imprisoned and tortured. When the wave of persecutions reaches its peak, he is forced to live in hiding. A trade, learned by Pavel in his youth, unexpectedly becomes his salvation – the Russians, who are extracting uranium in the Carpathians for their first atomic bomb, hire him. There, at the mine, the tentacles of the Securitate – the secret police – cannot reach him.
Stalin is still alive when Teodor starts school. Torn between two opposite worlds – home, where traditional values are preserved and love abounds – and school, where indoctrination and inequity prevail, he constantly questions and ponders the twisted logic behind events, sometimes with cheekiness and humour, as only a child is capable of doing under the circumstances. Events, however, affect Teodor deeply from an early age, as in the communist system the sins of the father – imaginary as they might be – are made to fall on his young son’s shoulders.