As an influential newspaper publisher in post-World War II New York, Zachary Benton seems infallible. His reputation and power increase with every passing year. But when his beautiful and icy wife, Hanna, discovers he’s been having an affair with Sarah, his Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, and that the girl is pregnant, Zachary realizes just how much he has to lose.
In this modern retelling of “The Bacchae,” Zachary’s once-charmed life as the publisher of the New York Beacon becomes a hellscape of paranoia, alcohol, and Valium as he attempts to keep Sarah safe from the increasingly frightening Hanna, while dealing with his paper’s escalating coverage of the war in Vietnam. Sarah, now visibly pregnant and hiding in a small town in Oklahoma, is unable to stay away from the newspaper business and goes to work for the local paper, where her instincts for investigative reporting turn up far more than she expected. When things come to a head late one night in the darkened newsroom of the Beacon, Zachary and Sarah’s lives change in an instant.
As their son, Dax, grows to adulthood, he struggles to find his own identity while following alongside the footsteps of his famous father. When he leaves New York to study journalism at the University of Chicago, Dax begins to craft two new lives for himself: one as an outstanding student and intern at the Chicago Tribune (which he eventually takes over), and the other as a young playboy, seducing the rich and neglected wives of Chicago. When Dax forms the Wine Enthusiasts Club, his two worlds gradually merge into one, surrounding him with a group of women so fanatically devoted to him, and the many pleasures he brings to them, that they’re willing to do anything for him – even murder.