This tale of deceit on several levels is interspersed with historical and linguistic references.
As the second son of a wealthy family in Les Landes, a region of Western France, Bernard Gauthier is destined to enter Holy Orders according to an age-old tradition, now obsolete. His elder brother will inherit the rich property but Bernard has other ideas. He inherits some precious objects from his beloved grandmother. Does Bernard manage to free himself from the bond of poverty and celibacy required by the priesthood? What is the role of his formidable mother in all this? His interest in travel leads him to take a holiday in Australia where he is faced with an unexpected situation.