The story only starts here...
Today the chancellor delivered what is only the opening line of what is set to be a long-running political saga.
George Osborne set out the story that he is hoping to see unfold - the deficit tamed then eliminated, welfare reformed, waste cut but spending on the NHS, schools, big transport infrastructure projects and overseas aid all protected.
Those who work in the public sector will get paid less and have to pay more for their pension - if, of course, they keep their jobs. And, since we are "all in it together", we will all have to work longer before being entitled to a state pension.
It is not the government, however, which writes the whole of this story.
The next chapter is likely to examine the consequences of unprecedented cuts in welfare spending. The headline saving - £18bn in total - is, remember, the equivalent of 18 million households losing £1,000 each. A significant number of people who now depend on housing benefit, council tax benefit, tax credits and what used to be called "sickness" benefit will receive significantly less or stop receiving benefits altogether.
Turn a page or two and we'll find out which jobs and services councils have to cut to save around a quarter of their budgets.
Keep flicking forward and we'll see how long the relief felt in schools and hospitals lasts given what is still the tightest settlement for them in many, many years.
None of this will determine how this saga ends - that will depend on whether the economy grows enough to absorb the cuts and the consequent job losses or whether it stalls, leaving people to dwell on what many will, undoubtedly, see as the unfairness of it all.
The chancellor's speech suggested a title for the work he began today - "Back from the Brink". He knows that if he's got this wrong he will be accused of pushing Britain "Over the Precipice".