This story is based in St Petersburg, in the year 1899. Obsessive gambler Rubashov has played every game in town. Now on New Year's Eve, he finds himself on the brink of ruin, and decides to make a bid for the ultimate rush, the biggest gamble ever, to challenge the Devil to a poker game. The Devil accepts the invitation and unsurprisingly Rubashov loses. However, the price is not straight to hell as he expected (hell is full and has been for years), the punishment is immortality. Rubashov has great difficulty coming to terms with his ever-lasting life; he now sees no end to what is already a miserable existence. Unsuccessful suicide attempts lead him to take up Russian roulette, but before long the money is piling up and he has amassed a small fortune, enabling him to embark on a very different way of life... In this bizarre trip through Europe, Rubashov encounters some of the twentieth century's most notorious characters.
Vallgren's bizarre picaresque tale is destined to stand alongside The Master and Margarita as a genre classic, and for fans of The Horrific Suffering of the Mind-reading Monster Hercules Barefoot..., Rubashov's adventures will be sheer delight.