The novel relates the career of Sheikh Hatim Al-Shanawi (‘our master’), the permanent guest of a television programme presented by Anwar Outhman. The charming Sheikh answers viewers' questions and becomes one of the richest people in the country through exploiting visual media to the utmost degree for his own ends. By using his natural cunning he gives replies to please everyone, including the security services, though they bear no relation to his personal convictions. The hero has varied adventures such as his relationship with Nashwa, veiled from head to toe, who he later discovers is an actress working for the secret services. The hero plunges into the depths of Egyptian society and uncovers its secrets in a witty and satirical style. The characters appear to live in a corrupt environment dominated by fear, spying and bribery, where people lie to each other and are only concerned with outward appearances and the surface of reality.