Is Primavera a self-replicating cyborg bloodsucker or a poor little dead girl? Ask Ignatz Zwakh when he stops bleeding.
In the early decades of the 21st century Europe became the world's arbiter of elegance, an Empire De Luxe dedicated to satisfying the age's narcissistic pursuit of health, beauty and longevity. It was a magic toyshop, a creator of adult fantasies. And amongst its creations nothing was so fabulous, so desired, as the objets de luxe known as "dolls": sex-toys designed for the pleasure of the Information Revolution's élite.
It is 2071 A.D. Forty years ago Cartier Paris cooked a virus that bridged the wetware-software divide. It was sent East to infect the fake Cartier dolls being made by Thai pornocracies. The dolls in turn would infect their male playmates – and make them impotent. Long term genocide à la beau monde.
Revenge was swift. A new virus hit the West. Infected men did not become impotent – quite the opposite – but any daughter born to them turned into a doll at puberty. And what is more, a demonically cute doll that infected other men with a vampire-like bite.
The world was seized by a pandemic of mutant births – a plague of half-human, half-robotic creatures known as DEAD GIRLS whose DNA recombined to adopt the structure of polymers and steel and who possessed superhuman powers.
But who, or what, really started the doll-plague? Revenge does not account for it: something more sinister is happening. Only the doomed teenage lovers Primavera and Ignatz know that hidden between the lines of the infinitely complex programs that gave the Cartier dolls self-consciousness were the fears, prejudices and secret lusts of the men who created them. The new generation of dolls embody this cruel poison. They embody male desire.
Primavera and Ignatz flee from the hatred, persecution and gynocide of London to the wild, pornocratic "Big Weird" of Bangkok. There, Primavera works as an assassin for Japanese crime boss, Madame Kito. But will the two lovers ever find a true haven of rest, or be forever on the run? When the CIA captures them, and Primavera becomes infected with malevolent nanomachines that scramble her cybernetic matrix, they are propelled into a series of adventures that become increasingly desperate and bizarre. At last, only one thing will come to matter: to seek out the dark, magic toyshop of Dr Toxicophilous – the designer primarily associated with the creation of the Cartier dolls – and once and for all resolve the mystery of the doll-plague. For only then will they be truly free – of the CIA, Kito, the world, and themselves.