Richard Brandon suffers from a childhood trauma from which he has never recovered, and he relives a childhood memory he has never been able to let go. The trauma is an accident that took his parents from him, and the memory is a fantasy world he created, called Quinque. Doctor Richard Brandon is obsessed with both, and experiments with hypnotic regression to relive the trauma and perhaps see what his life might have been like had things been slightly different;
He might have been Richard, a poet and Professor of English who is still morning his mother’s death. He might have been Rocky, a cop who drinks too much. He might have been Richie, a small-time thief. He might have been Rick, the obsessive owner/editor of a small Cleveland newspaper. Doctor Brandon relives all four lives, in four different Clevelands, until the fantasy of Quinque begins to leak through.
The fabric between dream and reality is shorn and four Richard Brandons find themselves in a life-and-death struggle with the ghosts of their childhood. They are thrust into Quinque, a realm where a God has gone mad. They must collect four Artifacts of power and face a shadowy Adversary, before they destroy each other or the reality they inhabit.