Herman and the noble and proud Ernestine, two young lovers, find themselves confronted with a pair of libertines who will stop at nothing - not even the confines of the law - to assuage their desires. Count Oxtiern, villainous and dissolute, and his accomplice Madame Scholtz, a widow of lusty temperament, will shrink from nothing, no lie, no treachery is beneath them in their quest for sexual fulfilment. But does crime really never pay? Or can virtue vanquish vice?
The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), infamous eighteenth-century author of pornographic novels, has recently been reinterpreted as a moralist whose unflinching investigations into the nature of sexual pathology anticipated Nietzsche and Freud.