This novel follows the evolution of a terrorist. Ralf Schilder sets out on the road to anarchy as a politically uncommitted bank robber, who drives getaway cars for the excitement of the job and for generous expenses.
He is attracted initially by the dark glamour and secrecy of terrorist organizations. Soon, he finds himself isolated as more tightly focussed police work and the rise of information technology lead to the tracking down and imprisonment of more and more of his colleagues.
When his native, divided Germany becomes too dangerous, he begins an alternative career robbing banks in the Italy of the Red Brigades. There, surrounded by blatant political corruption, he begins to appreciate the nature of the armed struggle. He learns to kill in Italy. Eventually, in England, he finds a cause.
On one eventful day in England, he realizes that he is ready and able to redress a forty-year-old crime. The greater part of his adult life has trained the young West German such that he is able to apply common justice to what he perceives to be a crime committed against his family thirteen years before his own birth.