1930. The Dust Bowl. A small troupe of carnival freaks has banded together and now travels a winding path around the country. Hounded by ordinary people who fear what they fail to understand, the freaks search for a mythical city called Scythallion, and the promise to live there in peace, unpersecuted by man. Led by their omi Nebuchadnezzar, a maori black magician; a disembodied head known only as the Old One; and Canaana, a Cyclops child-seer, the group makes its way across the dusty back roads of the country, finding work when it can. Canaana’s prophecies are always indirect, and the freaks therefore find themselves led only by riddles and waking dreams.
After years of fruitless wandering, they may have caught a break. Revealed to them is the existence of a mysterious entity, a thing of patchwork stitching and old magic called the Harlequin Man. This elusive relic of an ancient age is rumored to know the whereabouts of the city, if they can only track him down. But as Canaana says, “the way is long and dark and dangerous,” what with enemies closing in on all sides…and an ancient demon pursuing their trail!