The world's threats are universal like the sun but Ricardo Reis takes shelter under his own shadow.
Back in Lisbon after sixteen years practising medicine in Brazil, Ricardo Reis wanders the rain-sodden streets.
He longs for the unattainably aristocratic Marcenda, but it is Lydia, the hotel chamber maid who makes and shares his bed.
His old friend, the poet Fernando Pessoa, returns to see him, still wearing the suit he was buried in six weeks earlier.
It is 1936, the clouds of Fascism are gathering ominously above them, so they talk; a wonderful, rambling discourse on art, truth, poetry, philosophy, destiny and love.