The action takes place in 1930s Moscow. The novel consists of three parallel storylines that converge in the finale. The names of the parts are conventional.
Part 1. Woland and his entourage. Meet the Master
A hot summer day in Moscow appeared a foreigner, calling himself a consulting professor and a specialist in black magic. He was accompanied by an entourage of three very strange personalities, one of which was a huge, black, talking cat.
The foreigner, who turned out to be Satan Voland, began by faking the death of a prominent literary figure and living in his apartment, of which there was an immediate notoriety.
The personalities in Woland's entourage, prone to cruel jokes, have stirred up a lot of activity in Moscow and driven several people mad.
One of the unfortunates who ended up in a clinic for the insane was a poet who had written an atheistic poem about Christ. In the clinic he met a master who had written a book about Pontius Pilate, was attacked by critics and harassed, and went insane because of it.
The master's lover, the beautiful Margarita, wanted to treat and protect his beloved, but the master could not accept such a sacrifice.
He left his apartment, wandered around for a long time, and finally ended up in a clinic. After staying there for four months, the master came to terms and believed that Margarita had forgotten him.
The chapters about Woland and the Master and Marguerite are interspersed with chapters from the Master's novel. It tells of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea, who, because of a treacherous denunciation, was unable to prevent the execution of Yeshua Ha-Notsri.
Part 2. Satan's Ball. The Fate of the Master and Margarita
Woland has arrived in Moscow to host the annual spring ball. According to tradition, the queen of the ball was the most beautiful woman in town named Margarita. This year Voland offered this honorary role to the master's sweetheart.
After her beloved disappeared, Margarita had to return to her husband, but she did not forget the master and accepted Satan's proposal, hoping that he would help her. After smearing herself with magic cream, Marguerite became a witch and flew to the ball riding a floorbrush.
The duties of hostess of the ball proved to be a heavy burden, but Marguerite coped.
The ball fell upon her at once in the form of light, and with it, sound and smell.
After the ball, she demanded that the master and their former lives be returned to her. Woland granted her wish.
It was time for Satan to leave Moscow. On the Sparrow Hills he met a messenger from Joshua, who conveyed Satan's request: to give the master and Margarita eternal rest, since they were not worthy of heaven and they did not deserve hell. The lovers died in this world and left Moscow with Woland and his entourage.
Night thickened, flew beside them, grabbed the gallopers by their cloaks and, ripping them from their shoulders, exposed their deceptions.
A parallel ending to the novel about Pontius Pilate. After the execution of Yeshua, the procurator avenged himself by ordering the murder of the dastardly informer, but this did not mitigate the punishment inflicted on Pontius Pilate. He spent hundreds of years at the place of execution awaiting forgiveness and a meeting with Yeshua.
Voland arrived at the place of execution and released Pontius Pilate, who had finally met Yeshua. Satan then bid farewell to the lovers. The Master and Margarita settle for eternity in their final refuge: a comfortable, quiet home.
Rumors of these strange events spread throughout the country. The investigation reached a dead end. In the end it was decided that the most powerful hypnotist, who called himself Koroviev, was to blame for all this devilry.
Stepan Likhodeev was sent to Rostov, where he became head of a large grocery store, and the financier Rimsky went to work in a children's puppet theater. The poet Bezdomny became a professor of history and philosophy. Every year on the day of Berlioz's death, he would sit for a long time on the same bench on the Patriarch's Ponds, and at night he would dream of Pilate and Yeshua walking along the moonlit road and arguing about something important.