Between 1780s Italy and 1990s San Francisco, two families vie for the truth:
Are human beings meant to die, or are we meant to live forever?
The Thief of Lies, from an ancient patrilineal line searching for means to immortality, sucks out the energy released when people let go of lies. But, after almost 200 years, the Thief is suddenly beginning to die.
Blaming an equally ancient matrilineal family committed to protecting the sacred circle of Life and Death, he targets the last of them, Nakita. If he can trick her into releasing her lie, he will not only win the multi-generational war,
but humanity will be free of death.
Or, at least, he will be.
Nakita, in grief over the untimely death of her mother and the departure of her lover Celebrity, appears vulnerable. Young, educated in a post-modern and scientific age, and uninterested in her inheritance, Nakita struggles to build a good and happy life at a time when all meaning-making is up for grabs. When The Thief suggests he knows the secret she needs and spins his web to catch her, Nakita seems to float right into it.
What ensues is a delicate, violent dance in which each strives to outmaneuver the other.
In the final contest, full of sex, fire, and fury, Nakita must find something even more powerful than truth to beat the Thief of Lies at his own game and save herself, and perhaps even the world.
“The painter, with an hour left to live, looks up at the empty heavens, and begins to sing. Not of now, but of another time, when the heavens were full, when life was sweet, and when the body of his lover filled him with ecstasy. But now, even with all that gone forever, and despite his abject loneliness, his acedia, and the state of his absolute despair, he cries out, “Never have I loved life so much!” The young man is stunned. Now? In the hell of death’s drawing ever closer? Never has he loved life so much? The young man doesn’t breathe for many seconds and barely follows the plot when the murderess appears and hands the painter the note the commander had written… How is it possible to love life, to love the moment of waiting for death to arrive, more than moments in safety, in a lover’s arms, living out one’s talents?
The painter, the young man notices, never sings so beautifully again.
Hearing of his lover’s plans to escape, he repeats her words without seeming to really believe them or, maybe, want to believe them. The painter sings to her that she is his inspiration for life, but the music does not carry the same emotional power as before, and his words sound false. The young man remembers very well under what conditions the painter loved his life more than ever. It was when he had lost everything. So, in the end, when both the artist-lovers die, while the orchestra takes its bows, and the diva does as well, while the audience applauds and shouts Brava!, and the angel’s sword continues to hang over them all, the young man can think only, What does it mean, to sing this way at death? But what could this feeling be like, that gives rise to such a song?”