Though not yet 30, Arthur Goodbody’s life has been at a low point since his wife died five years before. He works as a museum guard, hasn’t much money and few prospects. His social life takes place entirely at a bar in his neighborhood.
He writes poems and dreams about writing an epic. Just as he is about to strive for a new way of life, a minor devil named Mr. Octavius barges into his affairs and offers to bring Arthur’s late wife back to him if he will enlist in Octavius’s campaign to banish ideas of faith from human thinking. Arthur’s story includes excerpts from his dreams, letters he writes to his late wife, his adventures with Octavius, and a novella length interlude in which Arthur writes about the life of a controversial 17th century American theologian.