A beautifully written narrative about a group of artists in Munich in the 1820s. One is an architect, the others are musicians and artists. They idolise Wolgast, an older man who is not what he seems. A story of love and betrayal with a surprising ending.
Ettlinger placed in the footman's free hand the letter in which he was granted permission to consult Wolgast's library; the footman thanked him and balanced the unopened letter on his open palm, as though its weight was a measure of its authenticity. Requesting Ettlinger to follow, he conducted his master's guest to the foot of a service staircase at the rear of the building and led him to the first of the upper floors. The air of the staircase smelled faintly of mould and vinegar; patches of plaster had lifted from the wall in papery crusts.