Three events occur.
In 1679, the ceiling of the Theatre des Encornets in Paris collapses, killing 25 members of the audience and the set designer Adriano Lavicini. Are the rumours true that Lavicini made a fatal pact with cosmic evil?
In 1938, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the physicist Professor Franklin Bailey comes close to perfecting a radical new technology that could win the next war before it starts. But what are the shadowy forces at work on campus?
In 1962, in a small flat in West Berlin, Egon Loeser looks back over his strange and eventful life. From the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris, his biggest question still remains: how can it be that a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him couldn’t get laid more often?