Once visited by the likes of Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and George Eliot, the London Library is a maze of books – a jumble of first editions and forgotten texts. For Tony, it is a refuge from the failure his life has become – and it is about to be invaded by a destructive old friend.
Adam is a world-renowned novelist who spends so much time writing articles and appearing in documentaries that it seems impossible he actually has time to write books. He visits the library to research a nearly-forgotten English poet, Francis Youlgreave, who just happens to be Tony's obsession. Tony has staked his career on the long-dead clergyman, and will do whatever it takes to keep Adam from stealing his research. In this ghostly library, scholarly conflict is anything but academic.