Set in bustling Regency England and decaying Venice, A Man of Genius portrays a psychological journey from safety into secrecy and obsession. After a troubled childhood, Ann achieves independence earning her living as an author of Gothic novels. Within a group of male writers, she meets and is enthralled by the supposed poetic genius, Robert James. Ann and Robert travel from London through a Europe exhausted by the Napoleonic Wars. They arrive in a Venice of spies and intrigue, where their relationship becomes torturous and Robert descends into near madness.