Seventeen-year-old Edwin Ravensdale spends a year in Madrid in the 1960s where he experiences dubious individuals, the hippy scene and student riots. On his return to the UK he finds things so dull that he takes a ship out to New Zealand in search of opportunity and is fortunate in landing a job at the TV studios in Christchurch. He works his way up to directing a nightly news magazine programme and then moves to Hong Kong to work in television there.
His intention of returning to New Zealand is thwarted when the country changes its immigration policy. Arriving back in the UK instead, he comes up against the closed shop of the broadcasting union. In order to survive, he takes a series of mundane temporary jobs in London and on the Continent before finally running out of money in Italy - but against all the odds is able to get back into his career. He then has a profound and unexpected spiritual experience which leads him to take time off to go on a search amongst different denominations of Christianity. By a process of elimination he encounters one particularly controversial group and attempts to handle their public relations for them with frustrating consequences.