This epic story takes place between 1820 and 1860 during the Habsburg Monarchy, and portrays the life one of the greatest Hungarian aristocrats - Count Széchenyi - who was born with extra-ordinary mental and spiritual talents. In the years following the fall of Napoleon the young count Széchenyi irresponsibly seduces his brother's wife, and the consequent scandal ruins his career as an army officer. After the sudden death of his humiliated lover Count Széchenyi drastically changes his character from that of a shallow young man into a responsible nobleman seeking to conquer his fate by creating great achievements in his remaining life. A great friendship and a special new love help the count to overcome all other obstacles. Széchenyi becomes one of the most famous politicians of his time. He is chosen as the leader of the opposition, and as such he becomes the enemy of the Habsburgs. However, Széchenyi has never intended to go against his aristocratic upbringing and to be part of a cause, which aims to destabilize the Habsburg Monarchy. Feeling responsible for the unleashed tensions within the Monarchy he strives to serve as the cause of reconciliation. He initiates the building of a grand bridge over the Danube, which is to become a symbolic link between the West and the East in Europe. However, his reputation and influence assume such proportions that when the Monarchy is shaken to its foundations by the revolutions of 1848 he is driven insane by his thoughts of self-incrimination. While mentally deranged and locked away in a private sanatorium near Vienna Széchenyi's nightmares become a reality. The Habsburgs exact cruel retribution for the 1848 rebellion in the Hungarian province. Széchenyi's friends are executed while his rebellious country sinks into an apathy equal to his own. Now an old man, Széchenyi miraculously regains his former self. With renewed energy the old count launches into a rejuvenating program for his beloved country initiating his last great gamble against the Habsburg Empire.