Farnaby, a young Englishman in Istanbul researching a thesis on Ottoman fiscal policy, is nervous at his reunion with the celebrated Mooncranker who once so fatefully influenced and disturbed his life. Mooncranker, a famous intellectual, is now a ...
pitiful alcoholic deserted by his secretary and lover Miranda the woman Farnaby secretly loved with the violence of youth. Mooncranker sends him to find Miranda at a notorious Turkish spa on the grounds of an ancient city where sex is known to come along with the price of the room. There Farnaby tries to understand Mooncranker's gift to him as a boy of thirteen, which has tainted his life ever since, as he finds himself a pivotal figure in the eccentric destinies of the other residents of the spa.