Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.'
Pipes and kettledrums herald the arrival of gypsies on their annual visit to Macondo, the newly founded village where José Arcadio Buendía and his strong-willed wife, Ursula, have started their new life. As the mysterious Melquíades excites Aureliano Buendía and his father with new investions and tales of adventure, neither can know the significance of the indecipherable manuscript that the old gypsy passes into their hands.
Through plagues of insomnia, civil war, hauntings and vendettas, the many tribulations of the Buendía household push memories of the manuscript aside. Few remember its existence and only one will discover the hidden message that it holds . . .