Kay, a young man, has moved from the city to work in a regional centre. He lives in the countryside, in what was an abandoned 1950s house with a dog called Trail, and indulges his interest in an image of an Egyptian princess from the Amarna period.
He creates a shrine to her on his fireplace mantle, and by his observations to it, Kay accidentally invites communication with the princess' world of Egypt in 1350 BCE.
Time around Kay becomes unstable, and he finds himself waking in a forest near his house, with an enigmatic memory of a desert landscape, across which winds a track that leads to the City of Akhetaten, where the princess lives.
In spite of this reoccurring dream, he falls in love with a waitress. He tricks himself into thinking he can walk to the princess' city and return to love the waitress, but his solution to reconcile the dream with reality proves glib.
Arriving in the city we find he is expected, called there, perhaps by the sorcery of a nine-year-old black princess of Kush and the Egyptian queen; however, their sorcery has its own inherent instability.
All the parties involved in Kay's adventure are misaligned, and they struggle to fulfil their original intentions.
After initially being arrested, Kay is given a tour of the city and encounters several notable people - the rebellious princess of Kush, the humane Master of the Road, Chief of Police Mahu, and the haunted General Ramose.
He meets the princess of the shrine and her sisters, and in the Mansion of the Aten, he experiences the sun-god.
Because Kay is dreaming, he cannot sleep and grows weaker, until a social catastrophe forces him to flee back to the track across the desert. Now he must discover what there is to find at the other end to the track across the desert.show more