The Sands of Time is set in post-civil war Spain with links to New York. The characters are Basque freedom fighters on the run, the police who pursue them, escaping nuns who suffer arrest, rape, or death in a conflicted world, and wealthy New Yorkers searching for their lost child heiress.
Against the backdrop of armed struggle between Basque nationalists and a repressive Spanish government in the post-Franco years, the charismatic Basque guerrilla leader Jaime Miró and the corrupt, sadistic Colonel Acoca.
Several storylines converge as the nuns are attacked for supposedly hiding a terrorist leader when in fact one of their own is a murderer on the run. While fleeing to a safe convent they meet the guerilla fighter and his friends, fall in love, decide to return to the convent or not, and as strangers to each other, eventually find out who they really are.