It is the year 2522, and the planet Earth is dying. The Artificial Ozone Layer is only 300 years old, but it is breaking up fast. Now the sun is burning down on Earth with a white fire. There is no water. Without water, nothing can live. Trees die, plants die, animals die, people die. In a colony under the moon, people wait for news - news from home, news from the planet Earth.
Cathy Wilson is driving to Norfolk, to begin her new job with the Harvey family. She is going to look after the two young children, Tim and Susan. Cathy meets the children’s father, and their grandmother, and their aunt. She meets Nick, the farmer who lives across the fields. But she doesn’t meet Miranda, the children’s mother, because Miranda is dead. She died two years ago, and Cathy cannot learn anything about her. Everybody remembers Miranda, but nobody wants to talk about her.
Witches are dangerous. They can kill you with a look, or a word. They can send their friend the Devil after you in the shape of a dog or a cat. They can make a clay picture of you, then break it.... and a few weeks later, you are dead. Today, of course, most people don’t believe in witches. But in 1612, everybody was afraid of them. Young Jennet Device in Lancashire knew a lot about them because she lived with the Witches of Pendle. They were her family.
It is Molly Clarkson’s 50th birthday. She is having a party. She is rich, but it's a small party - only four people. Four people, however, who all need the same thing: they need her money. She will not give them the money, so they are waiting for her to die. And there are other people who are also waiting for her to die. But one person can’t wait. And so, on her 50th birthday, Molly Clarkson is going to die.