The satanic-messianic and at all times tortured progression of Phineas Vintner, through the France and Italy of the late '30's to the war, through the many temptations of the flesh and the many women who love him, to his final redemption as a man of faith and good will. For in Rome, Finn is the prey of Darcy, who peddles drugs, of Darina- who tries to possess him in her establishment of orgiastic indulgences. Fleeing from Darina, Finn goes to Paris where he seduces young Solange, but is still ""lost in a purgatory of halfways"" until he meets Flora, a good woman. Renouncing Flora for the time being, Finn joins the underground under the tutelage of Bobo, pimp and patriot. With the German surrender, Finn is absolved of the past for his future with Flora... The excesses here, physical to metaphysical, the prolonged, personal agony, are all a little hard to take.