The book contains three stories and an injunction to take lessons from history. The first story tells the tale of Amytis, a princess of Media, and her tragic love story. The second story shares the confession of Antonio, a clergyman. In the third and final story, Salma, an Algerian girl, tells the story of the war raging in her country. Each of the three has narrated his or her story while travelling on the purgatory train as it moves toward an unknown destination-and then passed the book along to the next storyteller.
Telling tales of love, religion, and politics, Purgatory Train makes clear the idea that those who learn from history can change the future.