Michael leaves his wife Irene one afternoon and settles with his mistress Gloria. Gloria married to Ralf, abandons the latter despite the nine years they have spent together. She accuses him of never being present when she needed him.
The protagonists of the novel are Dan Kader, a Swiss citizen with Algerian, Armenian, and French heritage and his father Ben Kader. The book initially tells the story of Ben Kader; it begins with a prophetic description of the well-known television images of the terror attack on New York City and ends on the day of the actual event, on the morning of September 11, 2001.