The president of France, visiting a striking factory in Saint-Étienne in the Loire, east-central France, is killed in a suicide attack. Presidential elections are announced for 35 days later and there is no doubt that the prime minister, Philip Deleuvre will run for the Élysée. But what few people know is that the prime minister knows more than he claims. This grand lie causes a return to business of Simon Kapita a former spin doctor to the late president. Anxious to preserve the honour of his dead friend and some form of political ethics, this "man of the shadows" sets out to find a candidate who will be able to beat Deleuvre — who is being advised by Kapita's former protégé Ludovic Desmeuze.