In 1882 while holidaying in Vienna, Dr Josef Breuer is approached by a beautiful, imperious young woman seeking help for her lover, Friedrich Nietzsche. His friends fear for his life but he refuses all aid. So begins an intriguing battle of wills and intellect as Breuer sets out to unlock the mysteries of a tormented mind. As the story unfolds, we see a relationship begotten in duplicity and manipulation evolve into a friendship that becomes powerfully redemptive for both men. Yalom brings to life no only Nietzsche and Breuer but also 'Anna O.' and a young medical intern named Sigmund Freud.