Martin Arkenhout, a seventeen-year-old Dutchman travelling across the States, kills his young American travelling companion, Seth Goodman, and adopts his identity. Some months later he takes - and takes on - other lives, adopting another passport, set of credit cards and identity. A decade and many lives later, now back in the Netherlands, he kills and becomes a young British art historian, Christopher Hart, and follows his plans to go to Portugal. But Christopher is being followed from London by Costas, another art historian, investigating the disappearance of a series of valuable prints from a priceless book, and before he leaves the Netherlands, Martin runs into his own mother on a tram. In the confusion of the moment he identifies himself as Hart, and for the first time Martin's series of seamless killings and identities runs into trouble.