The novel opens with the book “Saint and Skeptic” which introduces us to the narrator and main character Theos Alwyn. A poet who has lost his muse, and suffers as so many of Corelli’s characters do from a loss of faith. Alwyn has spent his life chasing fame and seeks, and finds in the very first chapter the renowned Heliobas, whom he believes can help him gain fame and fortune. The method he desires is the out-of-body experience detailed in Corelli’s first book. Heliobas tries to correct Alwyn’s opinion of himself (as a mesmerer) and address his lack of faith, but Alwyn is resolute, both in his beliefs as well as his demands of Heliobas. As a result Heliobas tries to refuse, but is surprised when Alwyn has such power within him to force it to happen.