The action takes place in the rural town of Darian, whose main business is the publishing house founded by the county principal landowner, Cyrus Darian. Daniel Saperstein, the vice president of Darian Publishing, is in love with a literature professor, Dr. Miriam Braun, whose classes he takes at the local community college. Despite his attention, she remains aloof+--+associating him with predatory business practices. The real predator at Darian Publishing, however, is Vincent Joyner, the office manager and self-appointed "Mergers and Acquisitions Department." In a merger with a local realty and construction firm, Joyner makes a deal that undermines his own company. Saperstein is suspicious of Joyner's financial finagling but seems to be totally distracted by Miriam Braun. After one of her classes on "The Bible as Literature," he even dreams that he is the prophet Daniel in the court of King Darius. The next day, following the completion of the audit and the sanctions of Darian's other property, the merger contract is ready for signing. Saperstein, however, seems to have disappeared.