A purposeless allegory of a dictatorship at war, and of sin and sex is set in an anonymous time and tells of Edward Hartley, a newly appointed head of propaganda, Ilsa, a cabaret singer, and a Pastor who fights his own lustful instincts in the world outside. Although Edward is cold (his lips are ""stony bulwarks"") and arrogant, he manages to establish a cosy relationship with Ilsa which irritates the Pastor. The war goes on, with rather less success than their affair, and as defeat impends, Edward's position is increasingly precarious. Terror runs rampant in the Capital; Ilsa is killed; and Edward is ready for the death that awaits him. Save for some gratuitous sex, there's a strong suspicion of arrested development in the emotional and intellectual content here; and Mr. Todd's writing would suggest that he probably never even got through Junior High.