1321, Norfolk. Deep in the heart of countryside lies an isolated village governed by a sinister cult of Owl Masters – theirs is a pagan world of terror and blackmail, where neighbour denounces neighbour and sin is punishable by murder. This dark status quo is disturbed by the arrival of a house of Flemish beguines, religious women, who establish a community outside the village. Why do their crops succeed when village crops fail; their cattle survive despite the plague? Accusations of witchcraft and heresy run rife while the Owl Masters rain down hellfire and torment on the women, who must look to their faith to save them from the lengthening shadow of Evil, a shadow with predatory, terrifying talons.