Alex Winter and Deborah Tate arrive by hovercraft at the city of Babylon, lying on the river Euphrates in the Arizona desert. He is a sociology drop-out from the University of Oregon at Eugene who wants to become a Babylonian. She has a much stranger ambition. Their minds are babbling in the Greek that has been pumped into them via computer interface at the University of Heuristics. To them, English has yet to be invented and the young king Alexander lies dying in his palace. The city is dominated by the tower of Babel, its spiral roadway curling up towards the heavens and wide enough for several donkey carts. And women sit outside the Temple of Ishtar, waiting for some stranger to drop a coin in their laps. The prospect seems to fascinate Deborah. She wants to become one of the Whores of Babylon.