When Cora and her little sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their great-aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida’s life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces’ arrival has reawakened an evil that has lain in wait for years. A haunting voice in an empty room; a strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard; mysterious words scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ... all point to a horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its grip for centuries.
In 1567, baby Aphra is found among the reeds and rushes by two outcast witches. Even as an infant, her gifts in the dark craft are clear. But when her guardians succumb to an angry mob, Aphra is left to fend for herself. She is shunned and feared by all but one man, the leper known as Long Lankin. Hounded and ostracized, the two find solace only in each other, but even this respite is doomed, and Aphra's bitterness poisons her entire being.