"At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement--self exile--on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier's former attache, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography--a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government's collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont's guilt, of his true character--and has publicly vowed: 'He'll never be Premier as long as I'm alive... Nor when I'm dead, either.'"