In modern-day Moscow, disaffected former journalism student Roman follows a cryptic invitation to join “the elite” and finds himself forcibly transformed into a vampire. But not your typical creature of the night. Thanks to a parasitical worm known as the Tongue, Roman (now called Rama) has become part of a ruling class of vampires who exercise an “anonymous dictatorship” over humans based not on a thirst for blood but the hunger for money. As various instructors school him in the ways of their elite breed, and Rama explores his new supernatural abilities, he begins a tentative relationship with another newly turned vampire, Hera. His desire for more knowledge about this intoxicating new world also leads him into potentially deadly conflict with Mithra, his mentor who becomes his nemesis.