The Mexican novelist her exhaustively portrays the progress of a dictator from the days of his exile to the years of power, the days of waiting after resignation, and the return as a savior. Cesar Dario is accompanied in his career by young Victor, an orphan he has befriended and who has learned to hate him, and, in the unnamed republic to the south Victor watches Dario's change from the patriotic leader of the Liberation Movement to the murderous demagogue whose good works please the people while blinding them to the slavery he imposes. His actions in expropriating lands, in dealing with the church and education, in using oil resources in a blackmailing way consolidate his control but an accident is the cause of his designating a successor. Victor leaves Dario for the new president, Gama, who molds him, after Dario takes over the government again, as a weapon for Dario's death. Victor fumbles his attempts at assassination but at last is able to complete his assignment. The anatomy of the political phenomenon that is built on inner corruption is revealed with detailed exactitude and has a contemporary application for serious followers of the current scene.