Dickens & Clot Investigations Ltd, a detective agency in a waterlogged, semi-buried Madrid of the near future, has a couple of unusual specialities: helping distraught authors and taking on Manex Chopeitia. The authors are frantically in search of characters who?ve quit the page and assumed a life of their own; Manex Chopeitia is the legendary Big Brother of the genetic-engineering company that rules over both the capital and the destiny of the US-Iberian Federation. Carlos Clot ? a paunchy, sartorially inept and alcoholic private eye ? cycles, boats and gumshoes his way around a drug- and drink-sodden metropolis. With the help of a cowboy sidekick, on the loose from an unfinished manuscript, Carlos is on a personal quest to put some dodgy people (both ?real? and ?fictional?) in their place.