According to the plans of German engineer Hermann Sörgel, the dams to block the strait of Gibraltar and the Dardanelles were finished in 1935 and thus the Mediterranean Sea has since been dried out to reveal 500.000 square kilometres of new land. The work on this project, called Atlantropa, has kept most of Europe’s manpower busy for the last 25 years, leaving no capacities for war.
However, the project caused other problems that have to be dealt with: hundreds of thousands of people from Africa - which is now connected to mainland Europe by a non-stop train via Sicily - pour into the cities of the Mediterranean, where fellow Africans dwell in the old ports already as workers for Atlantropa.
Fishermen are facing a dead sea with a salinity way too high for animate beings; tourism and overseas-transportation are practically nonexistent. A new potent drug, nicknamed “la cantarella", derived from Indonesian coca and arsenic, has flooded the continent.
This is the background against which the story of Timo, Italian born engineer for the Atlantropa-Project, is set. He has to travel from his building site in Tunis to Palermo, where his brother, a tightrope artist, died during a show. From here a bizarre trip through a dystopian Italy unfurls, which drags Timo into the businesses of the mafia, drug-traffickers and art thieves.