Edmond Music, Catholic priest and director of Beale Hall research institute, has a secret: he doesn't believe in God. And that's not all. For the past forty years he has shared a bed with his housekeeper, Maude Moriarty from Donegal. In fact Edmond Music isn't even Edmond Music. He's a French child of Hungarian parents, his mother lost, his father renounced - and a Jew. As he sees out his days in his magnificent Shropshire mansion, devoting his time to kabbalistic studies, his buried pasts - as son, double apostate and lover - threaten to end the charade which he has so carefully maintained. Fred Twombly, professor of English from Joliet, Illinois and half-century-long enemy, has arrived, determined to destroy him. What may be Shakespeare's lost masterpiece has disappeared from the Hall's famous library. Edmond must be to blame.