Identical twins, Bruce and Brendon Laird, take different paths after Bruce ruins his knee playing football and Brendon goes off to the middle east in the Army. Bruce becomes a famous scholar, discovering the Ur-Hamlet, legendary immediate source of Shakespeare's play. He is also given a look at a cache of letters from the legendary L.S. Marker. However, he comes to grief at small Oliver Otis College, for what that institution considers 'moral turpitude.' He alienates the woman who had received the Marker letters and loses a magnificent opportunity. He also loses Bettina Arujo and Robbie Spector along the way, and falls in love with Brendon's girlfriend, Annie. Brendon, meanwhile, becomes the banker for a powerful New Jersey mob. At the end, Bruce must substitute for Brendon at a mob gathering that everyone knows will turn deadly. Finally, what happens to Annie Devereux, the woman each twin loves?