…it is the end of another working day in a bookshop renowned for its vast collection of rare works. MAYA SATIN, the manageress, is closing up and is on her own except for the owner AL F. EVESON and the janitor AGNUS ANDERSEN. A mysterious customer suddenly appears in the form of a pilgrim called SWAN TAMEL. He claims to have travelled the globe in search of a book that he dreamt of being in this shop and he asks to be taken to the storeroom.
…they are stunned to discover that all the books in the storeroom have been replaced by thousands of copies of the same unknown work and when they return to the shop, they see that the same has happened to all of the books that were on display just a moment before. They have all been replaced by a book with no author and no publisher that carries the simple title “1”.
…the scene is sealed off by the Reality Defence Institute (RDI) and an investigation begins under the direction of Special Agent Phil Pitch, famous for exposing paranormal phenomena as elaborate fraud.
…the investigation fails to come up with any significant evidence and although everything and everyone is a potential suspect, the only point of reference in this unusual crime is a plainly-bound almanac that details everything that happens to the whole of humanity in the space of one minute.
…the law states that those involved my be “segregated” and so they are transported to the research headquarters of the RDI where they are exposed to secret and complex tests in order to draw the truth out of them.
…despite the fact they are unable to identify the book’s exact source, all the data it contains appears verifiable by fact. PITCH runs into more and more obstacles as the investigation spreads. The four suspects become increasingly suspicious and begin to believe in the whole marvellous phenomenon.
…it turns out that SWAN TAMEL managed to smuggle a copy of the book out during the initial confusion in the shop that is soon copied and distributed all around the world. The book creates widespread scandal, leads to mass suicide, and insights heated debate in all segments of society. The pressure is increased further by PITCH’S rival RICHARD LANCE, who begins to conspire with his superiors.
…PITCH eventually becomes overwhelmed by his helplessness, is forced to abandon his tried and tested methodology, and begins to improvise. He gives each of the segregated suspects a copy of the book to read and monitors their metal response via special headbands. They fall asleep and gain insight into the book’s contents and discover the identity of its author! PITCH catches scent of this but RICHARD LANCE takes control of the investigation and arrests PITCH on suspicion of authoring the book himself. This leaves PITCH no other option than to follow the segregated suspects into their collective dream-world!