Wealthy publisher Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) has obtained a copy of an exceedingly rare book called 'The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows.' The 17th century tome is supposed to explain the procedure for summoning Satan and is rumored to have been authored by the Devil himself. Balkan hires Dean Corso (Johnny Depp), a book dealer who skirts the law more often than he should, to track down the two other copies of the book in Europe. Balkan claims to believe that his copy is a forgery but Corso quickly discovers there is more to Balkan’s quest than he thought as those associated with the book begin to succumb to bizarre deaths that mimic the morbid illustrations. An otherworldly girl (Emmanuelle Seigner) seems to both pursue and aid Corso as he attempts to gather the books together before they can be taken by rival searcher Liana Telfer (Lena Olin).