Vienna, January, 1889. The golden age is in full swing. Waltzing has taken off, the Carnival is getting underway, and Crown Prince Rudolf may be going mad. Increasingly isolated in a government gripped by xenophobia and anti-Semitism, a family warped by abandonment and insanity, and a city whose wealthiest dance the night away while her poorest sleep in the sewers for warmth, Rudolf embraces his escape from everything, including his own head, in the form of an affair with the teenage Baroness Mary Vetsera. But when he begins to be plagued by visions of his uncle, Ludwig, who died two years ago after being forced to abdicate the throne of Bavaria, demanding revenge for what he says was murder, Rudolf must use every effort to try and cling to his last thread of sanity. As everything around him begins to crack and crumble, including his beloved city, he is driven at last to the most desperate solution, and forms a pact with Mary Vetsera which will shock the foundations of all Europe.