Venice, 1468. Sosia Simeon, a free spirit with a strange predilection for books and Venetians is making her particular mark on the fabled city. On the other side of the Grand Canal, Wendelin von Speyer from Germany is setting up the first printing press in Venice and looking for the book that will make his fortune.
A love triangle develops between Sosia, Wendelin's young editor, and the seductive scribe Felice Feliciano, a man who loves the crevices of the alphabet the way other men love the crevices of women. Before long, a dark magic begins to haunt Sosia and the printers: an obsessive nun and a book-hating priest conspire against them, and soon their fate hangs in the balance. For binding them all together is the poet Catullus - whose desperate and unrequited love inspired the most tender erotic poems of antiquity.